Latter-day Saint Charities announced Friday a collaborative effort in Utah that will require the most volunteers of any service effort since the 2002 Olympics. The project will focus initially in the Wasatch Front and will seek for 10,000 volunteers a week for the next five weeks.
ProjectProtect will seek to provide frontline healthcare workers with the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) needed to aid medical professionals in their fight against COVID-19, including face shields, gowns, and masks. Volunteers are needed to help sew medical-grade masks for caregivers. The pattern for these masks meets medical standards and is also easy to sew.
“Anybody who has a little bit of experience and a single needle sewing machine can help make these masks,” Sister Sharon Eubank, First Counselor in the Relief Society General Presidency and director of Latter-day Saint Charities said in a virtual press conference Friday.
The role of volunteers is simple but vital and comes in partnership with Intermountain Healthcare, University of Utah Health, and Latter-day Saint Charities, along with other project supporters including Latter-day Saint golfer, Tony Finau. Beehive Clothing, which typically manufactures ceremonial clothing, is also throwing all of its energy and efforts behind helping with ProjectProtect.
“I feel it’s of the utmost importance right now for our community to come together to take care of our true heroes,” Finau said. “I believe my eyes have truly been opened [not only] to this whole pandemic, but to who the true heroes are during this time and not just today, but every day. I think those on the frontlines are saving lives every single and day and I think we owe it to them as a community to do our part now. They’re counting on us to not only do our part with social distancing but also to help them during this pandemic. It’s their responsibility to save lives and I believe right now it’s our responsibility to help them.”
A number of fabrics and materials were tested in order to make sure the equipment will protect those on the frontlines of COVID-19. Sister Eubank recalled taking the samples into the First Presidency for approval and President Russell M. Nelson asking to see the samples. A world-renowned heart surgeon, President Nelson then said, “Let me try it on.” He then assured her that this equipment would do the job to protect healthcare professionals.
Those wishing to volunteer can register online. They can then stop by a drive-thru location in the Wasatch Front, many of which are Deseret Industries, to pick up a kit with all the supplies needed to make a batch of 100 masks for medical professionals. The masks will then be returned, disinfected and finally, distributed to medical professionals.
ProjectProtect is just one of many service opportunities all over the world that can be accessed on JustServe, including an ongoing effort to create cloth masks to prevent community spread. Visit JustServe.org for service opportunities in your area.