One group of West Salem quilters is stepping up to help their community in the fight against Novel Coronavirus.

A group of six quilters in West Salem have been making protective masks from tight-woven 100 percent cotton flannel for multiple hospitals since the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, they’re offering to make masks for area residents as well.

The quilters are no strangers to donating to their community. In the past, they’ve donated quilts to the West Salem Parent Teacher Organization Annual Auction, the West Salem Volunteer Fire Department area and several other organizations in Edwards County and West Salem.

One quilter from the group of friends, Patricia Matthes, estimated that they had made roughly 500 masks thus far, distributing them to hospitals in St. Louis, Champaign and Evansville. Other members of the group are Karen Cokley, Pat Ristvedt, Shelby Lynch, Mary Ann Scranton and Sharon Lauderman.

Friends and family members of the group happen to work at hospitals at each of the three cities, with those loved ones making request for donations of the homemade personal protective equipment.

“We sent 150 masks to the Evansville hospitals,” said Matthes regarding a portion of the donated masks.

The group has also provided masks to multiple nursing homes, as well as the West Salem Medical Clinic. However, with the White House Coronavirus Task Force now recommending that every person wear a mask, the group has shifted its focus to help meet that need.

For the rest of the story, check out this week's Navigator.