WINDSOR, ONT. -- A volunteer group has reached a major milestone in helping provide masks and caps for Windsor-Essex.

The Windsor-Essex Sewing Force has made 25,000 masks and caps for the community.

The WESF volunteer group launched their efforts in March in response to the demand for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) across the region due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

“Our WESF volunteers are continuing their efforts sewing and donating masks to groups in highest need” said co-founder Rebecca Rudman. “We’ve outfitted everyone from nurses, hospital patients and visitors, long term care workers, community health workers, migrant workers, to vulnerable individuals such as seniors. And most recently, we’ve provided over one thousand masks for at-risk kids at schools.”

She says WESF follows the Windsor Essex County Health Unit’s daily reports and keeps in constant contact with community agencies and organizations to ensure masks are distributed to those with the highest need.

“Our success is possible because of our incredibly talented and dedicated volunteers and our commitment to sewing evidence-based masks informed by science,” adds Rudman. “We’ve been able to draw upon our region’s sewing excellence as well as expertise from WE-SPARK Health Institute and the University of Windsor through a funded project to translate cutting edge research into high quality homemade masks.”

Rudman says the science has been a key component to attracting partnerships for mask processing, such as the City of Windsor’s donation of space at the WFCU Centre, and community partners who distribute masks where they are needed most.”