Volunteers shift to making masks to fight COVID-19

Hundreds of sailors on board an Everett-based Navy battleship went to sea wearing masks made by volunteers for Days for Girls.

The Mount Vernon-based organization usually makes menstrual kits for women and girls around the world who otherwise would not have the proper supplies.

Volunteers pivoted to making masks, a million so far and counting.

From menstrual kits to masks, it’s all in a day’s work for thousands of volunteers for Days For Girls, a shift from a life-altering mission to one that could help save lives.

“Each mask, from start to finish, takes about 15 minutes,” said April Haberman of Edmonds.

She gave a glimpse of the work she and more than 3,000 volunteers around the country are doing: turning washable cotton that would go to making menstrual care kits, instead, creating face masks for a pandemic.

"It really was not a question of ‘should we do this?’ " said Haberman. "It was ‘when do we start? What’s the best pattern? And how quickly can we get this to the people that need them?’ "

A need so great, they have had to improvise.

“The wire for the nose bridge,” she said, citing an example. “We’ve all gone into our craft closets so we have pipe cleaners now of all different colors.”

Celeste Mergens is Days for Girls founder and CEO.

“When we got calls from Children’s hospital saying there were children that needed masks but we got calls from all over the United States,” she said. “Of course we pivoted to answer the call.”