M Streets neighbor Megan Moore Rain makes face masks for health care workers to help alleviate the coronavirus shortage. (Photo courtesy of Megan Moore Rain.)

A local crafter is getting creative to help alleviate the shortage of hospital masks caused by the coronavirus.

M Streets neighbor Megan Moore Rain started making face masks after hearing about the shortage on the news and from family members.

“My daughter worked some ER shifts at the UCLA hospital without a mask,” Rain said. “That was shocking. I’ve had sewing businesses over the years, and I thought, ‘This is something I can do.'”

She started by making masks for a friend, whose son has muscular dystrophy. His caregivers were down to their last masks when Rain placed 16 purple floral masks on the front porch for her friend to pick up.

“The caregivers were so happy because they were pretty,” Rain said. “I picked a purple floral fabric just because I liked it. It was something very easy I could do while I was at home.”

Each mask is made with tightly woven cotton in the front and flannel in the back. They can be washed for reuse. Although some research suggests that homemade masks aren’t as effective as the heavy-duty N95 masks used by health care workers, Rain thinks her work will help.

“It’s going to keep particles from flying across the room,” she said. “For people who have nothing, isn’t this still better?”

Rain started with 20 masks, which take about 20 minutes to make. But she has enough fabric from JOANN’s to complete between 300 and 400. Once she gets an order of elastic to finish the masks, she plans to send them to her brother, who works for Providence Health & Services, a nonprofit Catholic health care system.

“My brother said, ‘Will you send me masks?'” Rain said. “If you make them, we’ll use them.”

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