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The Morwell Neighbourhood House says it has been overwhelmed by offers to help make face masks for vulnerable people in Victoria’s Latrobe Valley

Mask-making drive a success as Morwell Neighbourhood House volunteers take up cause

August 23, 2022

ABC Gippsland / By Jarrod Whittaker

31 Jul 2020 at 6:16am

A woman sits behind a table covered in face masks while holding one in her hands
Morwell Neighbourhood House manager Tracie Lund says the response has been outstanding.(Supplied: Morwell Neighbourhood House)

The Morwell Neighbourhood House says it has been overwhelmed by offers to help make face masks for vulnerable people in Victoria’s Latrobe Valley.

Key points:

  • Eighty people have volunteered to make the face masks
  • The volunteers have produced more than 500 masks
  • Face masks will be mandatory in regional Victoria from midnight Sunday

The project started about two weeks ago with a post on social media calling for volunteers.

Morwell Neighbourhood House manager Tracie Lund said she had hoped to find just 10 volunteers and produce 100 masks.

“[But] we’re up to 80 people sewing in the community now. So it’s been an outstanding response,” Ms Lund said.

“We’ve just done a bit of a count today with what has come in so far and we’re [at] over 500 mass now, with more coming in over the next week or two.”

Latrobe Valley community members who are immuno-compromised, on a pension, have a disability or cannot afford a mask will receive one free.

More than 400 requests for masks

Wearing a face masks will become mandatory in country Victoria from midnight on Sunday after a spike in regional cases.

The Morwell Neighbourhood House had already experienced high demand for the masks before the rule change was announced.

A pile of face masks
Morwell Neighbourhood House is producing two types of masks.(Supplied: Morwell Neighbourhood House)

Ms Lund said she had received more than 400 requests for face coverings before the State Government announced changes to regional mask rules.

“I’m expecting what we have got in today to actually go fairly quickly over the next couple of days,” Ms Lund said.

“So we are relying and waiting on more masks to come in from our volunteers once this allocation has been exhausted.”

The Morwell Neighbourhood House’s volunteers are producing two types of masks after finding designs published by the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services.

One is a simple rectangular face covering which hooks to the ears, while the other is more complicated and fitted to the contours of the face.

Part of the attraction of the mask drive for the neighbourhood house was that it allowed the volunteers to work from home and minimise the possibility of spreading the coronavirus.

Morwell resident Lisa Nathan said she started making the masks to give her something to do after work.

“It’s just a bit of a change from the normal routine of what’s happening at home because at the moment you can’t really do a lot,” Ms Nathan said.

“It’s not too hard and it wouldn’t take long for someone who’s got a little bit of sewing knowledge to to get involved as well.”

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