Valley Breeze

The Valley Breeze Pawtucket 04-22-2020

The Valley Breeze Newspapers serving the Northern Rhode Island towns of Cumberland, Lincoln, Woonsocket, Smithfield, North Smithfield, Pawtucket, North Providence, Scituate, Foster, and Glocester

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2 THE VALLEY APRIL 22-28, 2020 | VALLEY BREEZE | PAWTUCKET EDITION CUMBERLAND – Over the past month, art teacher Michelle Turner of Blackstone Valley Prep Elementary School 1 has sewn and donated more than 250 cloth face masks to family, friends, neighbors and essential workers, including doctors, nurses and others partici- pating in the pandemic fight. With a new executive order now requiring Rhode Islanders to wear face coverings when out in pub- lic, the work Turner and others are doing is now in even greater demand, but like many others, Turner doesn't feel right making a profit. "This is not a time to profit off of anyone's fear," she said. During a time when it's easy to feel helpless, she said, "this is some- thing I can do. I could be reading, cleaning, or working on puzzles – which I look forward to doing at some point – but making these masks has been much more fulfill- ing," she said. "It keeps me ground- ed and focused when the days are long and things get scary. The end- less reports on the essential workers who put themselves at risk every day for all of us keep me going." Turner, of Cumberland, began making face masks before the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended wearing cloth face coverings in public set- tings. It began simply enough: she researched tutorials on YouTube, selected a pattern, and gauged com- munity interest with a Facebook post. She got a few takers, including two physicians who happen to be BVP parents. Incredibly, she said, she hasn't run out of supplies. Each time she runs out of a material, even hard-to- find elastics, it seems they magically appear at the door, donors using her Amazon wishlist to deliver exactly what she needs. "It's been amazing," she said. Almost immediately after new state guidance on wearing face coverings April 3, Turner started to receive more inquiries from people with loved ones working to save lives. She began reaching out to families she knew might benefit from a donation. She recalls speaking to one ES1 mom at an art show in early March about how that medical professional was preparing for the coronavirus outbreak at her hospital. "I figured she may need face masks, so I reached out to her when the new guidelines were issued," she said. "After I delivered the masks, she sent me a picture of her and her colleagues wearing them. It was heartwarming." From there, Turner and ES1 Head of School Joy Souza reached out to ES1 teachers asking if they knew of other BVP parents in similar situa- tions, beginning a list. Morning vir- tual meetings have provided more opportunities to learn about connec- tions to frontline workers. In the beginning, it took Turner about 15 minutes to complete one mask. With plenty of practice and a little help from her children, she says she's gotten "way faster" and has been able to cut the time down to an average of five minutes per mask, eliminating some steps. She took a sewing class 25 years ago to learn the basics, she said, but most of her sewing over the years has been related to crafts or basic projects such as pillows, curtains, clothing repairs or other things around the house. "I'm definitely not an expert, but getting better each day," she said. The masks aren't perfect, she said, but they work for this time that we're in. "We haven't eaten at the dining table in weeks," she said. "I won't stop until I run out of materials or my sewing machine breaks." Interested in supporting Turner's effort? Email her at mturner@ blackstonevalleyprep.org about any of the following items: Cotton fab- ric, materials for ties, flat braided elastic ¼-inch or ½-inch wide, flat headbands, bias tape, twill tape, and thread of every color. BVP teacher learns on the job, sews hundreds of masks By ETHAN SHOREY Valley Breeze Editor ethan@valleybreeze.com MICHELLE TURNER has been hard at work for weeks sewing masks for medical personnel and other frontline workers. Red Cross offers online classes PROVIDENCE – The American Red Cross is offering online classes designed by experts that teach essen- tial safety and preparedness skills. Special pricing is offered to those who sign up now through June 8. Offerings include: Adult, Child and Baby First Aid/CPR/AED; Cat and Dog First Aid; Babysitting Basics; and more. Sign up at https://tinyurl.com/ ybxpjrkn . Linda Farrington, DVM • Laura Roman, DVM Amy Kasprzycki, DVM Richard Coates, DVM • Holly Brown, DVM 1509 Mendon Road, Cumberland, RI 02864 EmErgEnciEs • small mammals Hospitalization FacilitiEs • routinE Exams PROGRESSIVE MEDICINE IN A FAMILY PRACTICE ATMOSPHERE We're Here To Provide Quality, Compassionate Care When Pets Need It Most. OPEN 7 DAYS Compassionate Care Veterinary Clinic 333-7911 Progressive Medicine in a Family Practice Atmosphere Open 7 days a week 1509 401-333-7911 www.ccvcri.com

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