WEST SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- Nurses and doctors are still in need of gloves, caps, masks and gowns to protect themselves from being exposed to COVID-19.

One local woman has decided to be useful during her spare time and put her sewing skills to work to make caps for those men and women on the front lines.

Ann Marie Walts, owner of Loft Salon Studio in West Springfield, is temporarily out of work, but she’s spending her spare time making a difference.

“I’m finding for myself that during this time, I’ve been intentionally doing this for myself personally and that is being distracted with positive and healthy things,” Walts said.

Trying to stay productive and positive, Walts told Western Mass News she was thinking of ways to help when suddenly her friend -- who is an emergency room nurse at Mercy Medical Center -- reached out and asked her to make caps for her fellow nurses and doctors.

“The direct request came from my friend Cary who works at Mercy, and so then I was like, ‘I used to sew all the time way back in the 90s.’ I made all my wedding gowns, and it’s a nice way to fill my time to help,” she said.

From there, Walts was able to get supplies and the correct information on what to use and how to make the masks.

“The rest of my time this week, what I’m going to do, especially today, is lay the patterns out and cut out all the material she provided to me and more or less do an assembly line approach. Right now, I am committed to a small amount. I say it’s 25, then Cary for her unit and then she will take it from there and who knows,” she explained.

Walts said even those who can’t sew or help out during this time can support healthcare workers.

“Just say, ‘Hey, how you doing? We appreciate you, thank you.’ We know we are going to get through this, and they are really helping all of us,” she noted.

Walts is encouraging people with sewing abilities to help.

“I had to dust off my sewing machine. I hope other people that are a little rusty with sewing can dust off their sewing machines and help out,” she said.

Copyright 2020.  Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation).  All rights reserved.

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