In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the shortage of N95 masks and other PPE, a group of neighbors in New Jersey began sewing homemade surgical masks out of their homes. Led by Jennifer Loughran, the Somerset County NJ Mask Squad was created. The Group’s Mission is to support our hospitals, medical workers and community during the COVID-19 pandemic by offering handmade alternatives to PPE in short supply.
The masks were based on patterns circulated on the Internet and guided by requests from hospitals, nursing homes, immuno-compromised individuals and the medical workers themselves. You don’t have to be a seamstress to help! This is a village coming together. As they field more and more requests, both in and around Somerset County, they recruit more dedicated individuals who help them sew, distribute the masks, field new requests, spread the word, and solicit funding and materials. Currently, the squad has over 300 members, and continues to grow daily. They are able to produce, on average, over 100 masks a day as a team.
As of the first of April, the squad has made and distributed over 1,100 masks, surpassing their original goal of 1,000. In order to keep up with requests, the group has started a GoFundMe campaign to help be able to continue to purchase and distribute supplies to volunteer to help make more masks. The GoFundMe campaign, along with other information on how to help and become a volunteer can be found at The Mask Squad.