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Sewing with a passion to help

Stacy White is shown working on the unique, individual face masks. (Photo submitted)

GLOVERSVILLE — A Gloversville woman who works at Nathan Littauer Hospital is putting her heart where her mouth is.

Stacey White, in her spare time, is making cloth designer-type masks to help stop the spread of coronavirus. In exchange, she doesn’t want personal payment, but wants people instead to make a donation to the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life Program.

“I do work at the hospital and it’s a time of need,” White said. “”I was brought up to help those in need.”

White, who works in Nathan Littauer’s Billing Department, has been sewing since childhood. She just started this mask-making effort recently and already produced about 40, some of which are already being used by local health care professionals.

Such professionals across America are not only battling coronavirus, but are in the throes of a shortage of personal protective equipment to avoid contamination. Face masks — including sought-after N95 masks that provide more protection than loose-fitting surgical masks — are becoming scarce. Officials including New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo are calling on the federal government to strictly enforce the Defense Production Act to get more masks out to the public and health care workers.

“I’m making the masks from home,” White says. “There’s such a shortage of masks.”

She already has a business out of her home known as Staceykins Creations, in which she makes all forms of personalized gifts. White said this latest venture to produce masks utilizes the cloth “stash” she already has to produce the masks. She can also personalize the mask for your own taste, for example pets or a sports team. She will try, she says, to accommodate the mask request but there is no guarantee.

“In good conscience, I can’t ask for payment,” she said.

White said Nathan Littauer Hospital has been very supportive of this project. She is trying to raise $1,001 for Relay For Life, but isn’t quite there yet.

She has been sewing her entire life and her seamstress work flourished with her work with Cooperative Extension for many years.

In her work with the masks, she is making special elastic ones for nurses that are lightweight, but she uses an assortment of materials.

“They are 100 percent cotton and I have different patterns,” she said.

Meanwhile, she has started to enlist the help of others in her mask-making, such as sister-in-law Charlene Norton of Gloversville.

She said she make abut six masks in one sitting. She got the idea on how to make the masks from the internet.

“I went on You Tube and watched a few of the videos,” White said. “I kind of tweaked it to myself.”

She said she’s already “sold’ nine of the masks, but the true winner is Relay for Life. She said her husband, Harley, had a father and uncle pass away from cancer in Florida. She is honoring them to some degree from her creative home up north.

Some other businesses are also attempting to create more masks for the community.

One is LaVilla Dog Works at 11 S. Market St. in Johnstown. According to co-owner Gina Papa, the company is making face masks to help with the coronavirus mask shortage. But she said they are not for sale yet.

“We’re still working on a prototype,” she said.

Papa said LaVilla Dog Works normally makes equipment for dogs such as collars and leashes, but is experimenting with making the human masks.

She said the business is currently closed to the public, but the masks may eventually be available online.

Further information on how to contact White can be obtained by contacting her on Facebook, either personally or through her business.

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