Nebraska Realty Agent is helping organize efforts to make masks for frontline medical providers.
Meredith Klein, an agent at Nebraska Realty and Cathy Thayer, owner of Fabric Bash, are organizing efforts to collect supplies and sew protective masks for medical professionals, first responders, senior care facilities, hospice homes and grocery stores throughout Nebraska and Iowa.
Thayer, who opened Fabric Bash in October with her son-in-law Jake Whalen, was visiting with a nurse friend on March 19th about the challenges of COVID-19. Thayer's friend had already run out of protective facemasks at a local Omaha medical facility and expressed concern for the weeks ahead. Thayer said, "When I heard my friend's concern, I knew in an instant that the quilting community could help and help in a huge way. Meredith Klein represents the quilting community. She has a kind heart, a big smile and she sews fast, too"
Klein met with Fabric Bash on March 21st to discuss their #MasksForHope initiative, to unify efforts with The Million Mask Challenge, and expand their operations to create and collect desperately needed items for those on the frontlines fighting the COVID-19 virus in Nebraska and Iowa.
Meredith Klein is respected in the community as a knowledgeable real estate agent. Now she is spearheading efforts with several partners like Fabric Bash, all of whom are volunteers. Klein said, “Marshaling the talents, generosity, and volunteerism of Nebraskans and Iowans, more than 1,200 makers have come together to meet a critical need in our region. National estimates show the current need around 100 million for the United States and our amazing volunteers are doing our part to protect our frontline providers. We hope it doesn’t come to needing these, but the demand is here, and we have an obligation to meet this as a society. Together, we can do this.”
The Million Mask Challenge Nebraska and Fabric Bash provides patterns and supports all makers, ranging from beginners making their first bandana to highly advanced makers creating more intricate fabric masks. The most common basic fabric and elastic masks are made of tightly woven cotton fabric, which can be washed, sanitized, and reused, or can be used over N95 masks, prolonging the use of items in short supply.
Nolan Clare, President of Clare Senior Advisors, knows the seriousness of the situation. Clare, a former nursing home administrator, now advises families on senior communities understands the impact of local efforts to flatten the curve. Clare said, "We are amazed by the generosity and resiliency of Nebraskans. Our elderly residents depend on the strength of our healthcare system to keep them healthy. Efforts from Meredith Klein, Fabric Bash, and the Million Mask Challenge make it possible for caregivers, nurses, and doctors to provide needed care while protecting this vulnerable population."
Klein added, “Fabric Bash in Omaha, and several other fabric stores have been a critical part of this effort, providing kits, donating supplies, collecting drop-offs, and more. We are still in need of sewers to make fabric masks and bandanas, as well as donations of fabric, 1/4-inch elastic, cash or in-kind donations to keep the supply chain functioning to meet the growing need.”
Encouraged by the collaboration, Million Masks Nebraska has donated nearly 6,000 masks in the last 10 days, meeting the needs of 63 different organizations across the state of Nebraska and fielded additional requests for over 2700 more from community members in various fields ranging from home health care to social workers. They have delivered masks to senior care communities, medical centers, and grocery stores just to name a few.
"It’s amazing but not surprising. Nebraska Realty agents, like Meredith, serve the people in our communities every day. We have such a talented and selfless group of people that are passionate about volunteering and lending a hand wherever they can." ~ Andy Alloway, President of Nebraska Realty
Local leaders, like Meredith, are making a difference. This is a way that we can all come together to help our community. We must help protect those on the frontlines so that they can continue to save the lives of those we love and the most vulnerable in our society. They are heroes and we can help them in a shared mission, one mask at a time.
For More information about Meredith's work, please visit: