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CR North student Sanjana Harihar produces and donates PPE masks to local shelters

By Stewart Gross

Sanjana Harihar, who just finished her junior year at Council Rock North, has been making PPE masks at home and donating them to shelters for the needy during the COVID-19 crisis.

Many people have stepped-up and made masks and face shields at home to donate to frontline medical workers and nursing homes where they are badly needed.

Sanjana found out that PPE’s were also badly needed by shelters since socio-economically needy and dislocated people are being disproportionately affected by COVID-19.

She is on the leadership council at the Alice Paul Institute in Mt. Laurel, NJ. They are a non-profit organization that raises awareness about equity issues being faced by women.

At a virtual meeting in which her group was discussing the crisis, the topic of economically disenfranchised people being hit harder than other groups with the virus came up, and this motivated Sanjana to produce masks and donate them to various shelters that help these people.

Sanjana manufactured 200 masks at home and donated them locally to:

  1. A Woman’s Place–  a domestic abuse treatment center in Doylestown
  2. Bucks County Homeless Shelter – located in Levittown
  3. Valley Youth House – a homeless shelter located in Warminster
  4. Mercy Hospice for Women and Children – provides residential services for people dealing with addiction, trauma, and mental health issues in Philadelphia
  5. Youth Emergency Services – provides youth housing and related services in Philadelphia
  6. Susquehanna House Shelter – a group home in Philadelphia

Sanjana took it upon herself to research where the locations for the disadvantaged were, and then contacted them and asked about their need for masks. 

She says, “I called all of the facilities and they were thrilled to take the donation. They needed them badly.”

Sanjana’s parents drove her to the facilities where she dropped her masks off personally.

She faced a difficult time acquiring the hardware and materials to manufacture the masks.  Since there are so many people supporting their communities by doing this currently, it is difficult for retailers whose doors have remained open to keep an adequate stock of sewing machines, cloth and particularly the elastic bands needed to make them.  Local craft and fabric stores are frequently sold-out of these!

Sanjana went hard to work after acquiring a Singer sewing machine through Amazon following a two week wait for an item that normally ships in two days for Prime members.  She was able to purchase two yards each of seven different patterned cotton clothes from JoAnn Fabrics in Warminster. She was finally able to acquire two 50-yard spools of elastic directly from a manufacturer.

Anyone needing elastic to make PPE’s can contact them at 215-674-5125 or through their Email: info@yarringtonmills.com

Sanjana found a design for a surgical PPE she liked from SARAHMaker, a craft and DIY blog on the Internet. SARAHMaker has posted the design for a surgical mask on their blog.

Anyone interesting in creating PPE’s can find this surgical mask design at:

https://sarahmaker.com/how-to-sew-a-surgical-face-mask-for-hospitals-free-pattern/.

One additional service Sanjana did for the community was to donate them directly at her local supermarket.

According to Sanjana, “I had extra masks and set up a table at the local ACME in Newtown during the senior hour in the morning. I told seniors walking by my table that they were free and they walked over to the table and gladly took them.”

Thank you to Sanjana for seeing that the very needy could get access to PPE’s during this trying time.

PHOTO CAP: Sanjana Harihar distributing masks to seniors at the ACME.

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