Operation Cover Up reveals generous hearts

January 26, 2021

Last spring, when Laurel Goldsmith began hearing stories on national media outlets that healthcare workers in some parts of the country were short on personal protective equipment, she began to wonder, “What can we as a community do to help our local healthcare system?”

She reached out through the volunteer link on Beebe Healthcare’s website and sent an email about volunteering to help with mask making. Kim Blanch, RN, from Beebe Population Health replied to Goldsmith’s inquiry, letting her know that a mask similar to an N-95 mask was being designed by Pam Smith, RN, of Lewes. The 3-layer mask had a pocket designed to hold filtering material that the hospital would be responsible for inserting.

Once Goldsmith received the mask pattern and instructions, she reached out through social media to her Coastal Club community members, and Operation Cover Up was born. She asked for their support to make masks as a demonstration of their gratitude for the excellent care Beebe provides to the community. Several sewing artists, aka sewists, and other supporters joined the group, making 1,200 masks from March through May 2020.

“We had volunteers washing material, cutting T-shirts, cutting sheets, ironing material, tracing and cutting patterns, sewing ties to create the masks,” Goldsmith said. “We raised over $3,000 and had major donations of sheets from Sheets at the Beach and T-shirts from Wawa, along with donations from several neighbors and quilters.”

About a month later, as the pandemic spread and impacted more elderly people, a few of the group members became concerned about neighbors who might also be in need. Two volunteers, Maureen Gerrity and Tina Gantomasso, branched out and began making masks for neighbors, and these grateful recipients donated over $1,200 to support Operation Cover Up. Another sewist, Kerry Walsh Thompson, made masks for a local pediatrician’s office to help children keep current with immunizations. Other OCU members including Emily Blair, Marilyn Geiger and Laura Brennan also sewed masks for donating to Cape Henlopen Food Basket.

“We want to thank the numerous neighbors from Coastal Club who left donations on my porch to keep us sewing for our cause,” said Goldsmith. “Without these supporters, the task would have been more than we could have handled ourselves. We are thankful we could give back at this crucial time, and we wanted to show our support to Beebe.”

Altogether, the Coastal Club community raised over $3,000 to supply OCU in Lewes with funds to source the materials needed to make masks. The balance of $1,500 was donated to Beebe Healthcare’s COVID-19 Relief Fund in support of the excellent community care the hospital continues to provide during these trying times.

As a community-based, not-for-profit healthcare system, Beebe Healthcare depends on the generous support of the community it serves. To make a gift to celebrate the excellent care you or a loved one have received, visit Beebe Medical Foundation at or call 302-644-2900. Want to share your story? Contact Amanda Neal at

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