Making cloth masks is a family affair during the COVID-19 pandemic
OTTAWA -- When Celina Urbanowicz first heard about the novel coronavirus on the news, she sprung into action.
Urbanowicz is a trained seamstress and with the shortage of surgical masks everywhere, she felt she had to do her part to help those in need during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It’s the same mask as the original,” says Urbanowicz. “Just the original is for one time. This one is washable.”
Her two daughters Camila and Roksana Hajrizi have been helping their mother since day one, and they are proud of what she has been able to accomplish.
“It’s been absolutely incredible, the amount that she spends on it. The time that she puts on it. The love that she puts into the masks,” says Camila.
Making these masks from scratch is a painstaking process, sometimes keeping them up until all hours of the night.
“Five o’clock, six o’clock, four o’clock in the morning,” says Urbanowicz
“I measure it, and I cut it out,” says Camila. “My sister irons and presses it. My mom sews it, she puts in the plastic part for the nose, and she runs it through the machine.”
The masks, which are being produced as fast as possible, are then hand delivered to those in need all over the city - free of charge.
“For people who need it, like hospitals, like retirement homes, senior’s homes,” says Urbanowicz.
“The lovely cloth masks that are made, they go to the mother/baby unit. And all the new mothers and fathers receive those masks,” says Sherri Daly, Manager of Centralized Screening Stations at The Ottawa Hospital. “It’s a wonderful thing for them to be doing.”
They have lost count of the number of masks they have made, but that is not what’s important to them. Keeping people safe is what drives them to work so hard.
Roksana says, “we cannot count them all, but it’s way over a thousand for sure.”
Urbanowicz and her daughters are determined to help flatten the curve, and these cloth masks are helping do just that.
“We're doing absolutely everything and anything that we possibly can to help reduce the spread of the virus and helping vulnerable people,” says Roksana. “My mom says we won’t stop until the coronavirus stops.”