Around city hall, Councilmember Tammi Thurm is being referred to as the “Martha Stewart of Masks.”

Because of the shortage of medical masks, Thurm has been working with what she says is an ever-growing number of people, mostly women, who are sewing masks out of fabric.

At the City Council meeting on Tuesday, March 31, she said, “I think it’s a group of close to a hundred now that are working on sewing masks.”

Thurm, of course, by group doesn’t mean what was meant by group before the coronavirus – as in people gathered together in one place. The group is made up of individuals sewing masks in their own homes.

She said, “We’ve had requests for over a thousand masks and have made a couple of hundred.”

She said the masks were not ideal but were useful and said, “We’ve got veterinarians who are using our cloth masks and donating their N95 masks to people who need them.”

Thurm said that they have made a lot of progress, in the mask making endeavor and now had kits they could provide that only needed to be sewn together.

One advantage of the cloth masks is that they are washable so they can be reused.

Thurm also noted that because just about all the fabric has been donated, they had made some very colorful masks.

Thurm said that Triad Goodwill was really behind the program and asked anyone who needed masks or who wanted to help sew masks to go to the Triad Goodwill website page dedicated to the mask program at

The Triad Goodwill website notes that this is a way for people to channel some of the fear and anger they have over the coronavirus crisis into a helpful endeavor.

It also states that once you fill out a form to sign up, Triad Goodwill will provide you with the materials as well as the patterns needed to create these masks, which are needed now but, depending on how long the crisis lasts, could be even more important in the future.