Jeff Whipple and Scott Samples of Long Neck Shores in Millsboro have hand-sewn and completed more than 1,110 face masks for first responders, healthcare workers and community members.
Samples has been sewing for about 30 years since he purchased his first sewing machine to make a Halloween costume.
Whipple has been sewing for about six years. He got interested in sewing and thread painting while shopping for a new sewing machine for Samples for his birthday in 2014. They make quilts and have a lot of fabric in their house.
The newsletter from their church, St. Peter's in Lewes, posted a need for sewists to make masks for COVID-19, and the two had the skills and supplies to take on such a project. They have a sewing machine set up on the main floor of the house and another one upstairs along with the cutting table and their fabric supply.
Most of the masks have been distributed through Suzanne Worrel of the Ocean Waves Quilt Guild. Recipients include Beebe Healthcare, Bayhealth Sussex Campus, Nanticoke Memorial Hospital and various Sussex County first responder groups. They have also provided masks to friends, family, fellow church members and neighbors.
Samples and Whipple have a plentiful supply of fabric in their home. The only material they had difficulty getting was ¼ inch elastic. Initially they were getting it through eBay from a costume supply house in Los Angeles and it closed due to COVID-19. Next they were able to find the needed elastic on Amazon through a craft supply house in Texas and they have purchased significant quantities of it.
It doesn’t look like they have plans to stop the project anytime soon. At press time, they had fabric cut to make another 500 masks.