Fire district secretary making masks to help others

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Brie Novack wearing one of her handmade masks.

TOWN OF POUGHKEEPSIE – Brie Novack, Secretary for the Fairview Fire District has been sewing filtered masks at home since the needs for quality facial coverings started a few weeks ago.

According to Novack, a friend had reached out to her about making 100 masks because the friend’s wife needed them for work and did not have any.  “I had never done anything like this before, but I’m pretty crafty so I figured it was worth a try.”  Novack’s brother is a certified nursing assistant (CNA) for Ferncliff Nursing home and told her that they were having to reuse their masks daily.  “My initial plan was to just make the 100 plus any more I could for my brother’s coworkers and go from there.”

Ms. Novack described the initial process that required the use of a sewing machine to complete the masks. After experimenting with three different patterns to develop the quickest and most effective process, the assembly began. “I have been a crafter since I was a kid, avid crocheter, knitter and various projects, but I had never explored a sewing machine until this opportunity presented itself.”  Novack credits YouTube videos for providing the basics for the sewing machine operation.

The masks have two styles, both of which are double-sided. One design has a pocket for a filter and the other does not.  The ones with the filter pocket take a little bit longer and are for healthcare workers and first responders who are on the front lines and most susceptible. According to Novack, the process takes about ten minutes to produce one mask.

A sample of masks made by Brie Novack

Materials, including the cloth and elastic, are in high demand, making them difficult to acquire.  Novack put a post on Facebook asking for materials, mainly fabric and elastic.  The amount of fabric received was overwhelming, noted Novack.  A brand new sewing machine was provided by friends of the new mask-maker.

Novack said that the demand for her masks has been substantial and she is trying to fill all of the requests.  Jo-Ann Fabric has been providing materials to Novack and others that are making masks and other supplies are being purchased with the assistance of generous donations from friends, neighbors, and others.

Playing down the generosity of her mission, Novack said “I am truly blessed with amazing people around me, this would not be happening if not for them!”