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Florida inmates help make face masks for healthcare workers on the COVID-19 frontlines

The four-woman team took on the task of helping local hospitals replenish supplies.
Credit: Hernando County Sheriff's Office

BROOKSVILLE, Fla. — What can a team of four women, sewing machines and fabric do to help the COVID-19 medical supply shortage? 

Make 131 face masks for healthcare workers. 

Inmates at the Hernando County Detention Center were tasked with combating a shortage of face masks at area hospitals.

Lt. Teresa Stevens created the plan after learning the need for medical supplies to fight the coronavirus was high at area hospitals. According to the sheriff's office, Steven's researched the topic and devised a plan on how inmates could help.

Four women were selected and the jail's face mask project launched on March 23.

The inmates were given a sewing class where they learned to iron, measure, and cut fabric to make the masks, according to the sheriff's office.

Then they got to work using donated sewing machines and materials. 

By the end of the day Wednesday, the group had made 131 face masks, which were donated to Bayfront Health Brooksville. 

The sheriff's office plans on making other donations to additional hospitals in the coming days. They are also in contact with the Million Mask Challenge administrators, to help meet community needs.

While this project helps support healthcare workers and their fight against COVID-19, it also helps these inmates learn and experience a positive environment.

"To see the inmates smile as they developed extreme pride and ownership of the project from a deputy's perspective while giving back to the community is a great gift," Stevens said.

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