BUTTE-Across the country and the state, face masks are in high demand to help keep communities protected from the spread of the coronavirus and in Butte, community members are using their skills to help.
If you have extra fabric, elastics or pipe cleaners around your house, you can put them to good use by donating them to community members making masks for those in need.
Francis Kayser has been on a mission for almost a week, a mission to give out as many face masks as she can to anyone and everyone. "I made it my mission to use my sewing machine, which had just been collecting dust and cut up the little amount of fabric I had on hand and elastic I had on hand to make masks," Kayser said.
Her mission is personal because her husband Erik is immune compromised and was born with cerebral palsy and birth defects, which makes things scary for them during the outbreak.
Erik Kayser says he is at higher risk than the average person his age. He adds with people panic buying everything from stores, he is left wondering if anything will be at the stores the few times he is able to go.
He adds many people aren't following recommendations of the CDC and the government, and he worries about social distance in the stores. "For me it's been frustrating because I see people just not listening and that's the key," Erik Kayser said.
Francis decided to turn that frustration into a way to help the community and that is why she started the Facebook Group Butte Reusable Face Mask Donations. On Wednesday, the group had made hundreds of masks and donated them to pharmacies, grocery stores and immune compromised people.
"It's good to donate these things and give them out to the public and those in need who are putting their lives at risk to help the community," Francis Kayser said.
She adds there’s been tons of donated supplies and volunteers helping make masks. Seamstress Stacey Butler is making upwards of 50 a day for the group to donate. She says she is putting her time off and skills to good use.
Volunteers have even offered to deliver masks to different businesses and people.
"Being able to sew is far more rare than it use to be, so if I have something that is unique and can help my community, I like to do that," Butler said.
Butler says for now they're donating to organizations without mask regulations but they're speaking with people from St. James Healthcare to see if they could help make masks that meet their regulations, to help with the shortage.
Butler adds she appreciates the support of the Butte community.
For more information on the group, you can check out their Facebook Page. The group also has a PayPal account which firstname.lastname@example.org for monetary donations or to donate in person call Francis or Erik Kayser at 406-885-4431.