Creating Fabric Masks for Ascension Medical Group Via Christi Clinics

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Original article from Ascension Via Christi

To stem the spread of COVID-19 infection, Ascension Medical Group Via Christi asks patients to bring their own masks when they come for care.

But many of the 1,500 patients seen by its Wichita clinics each day don’t have one.

To preserve medical quality masks for staff and symptomatic patients, the clinics, like the Ascension Via Christi hospitals, have turned to the community for help.

And just as it has throughout the pandemic, the community has responded with donated or low-cost locally produced cloth face masks that can be given to patients.

The most recent of these have come from two Derby retirees with a passion for sewing and another community non-profit organization.

An Act of Goodwill

Given the clinics’ significant, ongoing need for masks that patients without one could wear, wash and use on their next visit, David Alexander, President of the Via Christi Foundation, was asked for help.

Alexander reached out to Goodwill Industries of Kansas to see if the organization could make 5,000 masks that the Foundation could purchase.

Goodwill’s mission is to provide education, job training and employment to individuals with disabilities and other employment barriers. Its sewing department,, makes a variety of uniforms and safety apparel for businesses across the country. As such, Goodwill already had the materials needed to create the masks, which they would contribute at no cost and only charge a nominal amount for the labor to produce them.

“We are always looking for ways to partner with other great organizations and help the communities we serve,” says Emily Compton, president/CEO of Goodwill Industries of Kansas. “Since COVID-19 hit, we have been operating a skeleton crew in our sewing department and were busy with orders for other essential businesses. We knew the importance of protecting Via Christi’s patients and staff, so we made this order happen.”

Alexander says it is just one more example of Ascension Via Christi working with its partners to devise solutions that benefit patients, families, caregivers and the community at large.

“We both have a mission of serving the community, with a particular focus on those who are vulnerable,” says Alexander. “Working together toward that end when the opportunity arises simply makes sense.”