During this time of the COVID-19 crisis, the Belmont community continues to serve others. Students, faculty, staff and alumni alike have gone above and beyond to use their passions and skills to fill the needs that arise. Nursing, social work and O’More alumnae, faculty, staff and students are contributing their time, money and talent to create face masks during the COVID-19 crisis.
Lynne Shores, professor of nursing, belongs to a quilt group at Christ Presbyterian Church that was asked to make masks for two outpatient settings int he Nashville area. The quilt group recently delivered 75 masks to a large daycare center in East Nashville that is hoping to re-open soon to serve its children. Shores explained, “The idea was to have fabric masks available for non-COVID-19 cases, so PPE supplies could be saved for current or potential COVID-19 cases.”
Soon enough, Sandy Dowling, assistant to the dean of nursing, asked how she could help. Dowling started sewing to contribute to the hundreds of masks Shores and her quilt group were collecting. The group sent 100 masks to Johns Hopkins pediatric residents in Baltimore, Maryland, and more than 100 masks were sent to nurses at Saint Thomas Rutherford Hospital in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.
Last week, the group worked with Margaret Shores Pedicini, social work alumna and 2012 recipient of the Heart of Belmont Award, to provide 100 masks for her workplace, Shriners Rehabilitation Hospital for Children in Salt Lake City, Utah. Pedicini is married to fellow Belmont alumnus Wes Pedicini, a third-year emergency medicine resident at the University of Utah Medical Center in Salt Lake City, Utah.
During this time, alumnus Wes Pedicini has been corresponding with his friends from medical school to encourage and update one another each week. These phone calls resulted in the creation of more masks by Margaret and her friends in conjunction with Shores’ quilt group. 60 masks were sent to a pediatric hospital in Orlando, Florida, where one of Wes’s friends had requested masks for the residents in his program.
“In this time when we are so concerned about our health care providers on the front lines, it is truly a blessing to be able to contribute in a small way by sending masks,” Shores shared. “I received such a kind thank you card from one of Margaret and Wes’ friends, the pediatrician in Orlando, Florida, yesterday. It said, ‘Thoughtful gifts like these not only help keep us safe, but also make us feel that we are not alone in this fight.’”
Alumna Bobbi Hemmen, O’More College of Design Class of 2006, has partnered with Salley Cheney to create masks for Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital. O’More Program Assistant Emily Kynerd and current students Emily Ferguson, Chloe Baur and Jamie Poethke are volunteering to assist Hemmen and Cheney along with a number of O’More alumni.
Jenny Kemala, fashion design faculty lecturer, is creating masks for healthcare heroes during this time, as well. O’More alumnae Heather Glasglow, Van Hoang and Emily James are also contributing their time and talent by creating masks and donating to nonprofit organizations.
Hemmen and Cheney are seeking volunteers to assist with the effort, and anyone can help. They are looking for cutters, sewers, markers and finishers, as well as pick up and delivery volunteers. Mass production quickly is the main goal, and the first iteration of this process will be to have one person wash and cut, one person hem and mark, and one pleat and finish. As the abilities of volunteers is assessed, this process may change. If you are interested, please view the videos posted below and text Bobbi Hemmen at 615-351-4661.