SUNNYSIDE —Being a caregiver at Grandview Community Living, Christina Reyes of Sunnyside knows all too well how much medical supplies are needed.

She took to her sewing machine while on maternity leave to make as many masks as possible to donate.

“I did get contacted by the hospital asking how much they could pay, but that’s not the point, I’m donating these masks,” Reyes emphasized.

Reyes began making reusable, protective face masks to donate to Astria Sunnyside Hospital employees that could be picked up in a plastic bag, hanging on her front door. Some recipients had even left monetary donations for the masks.

The caregiver has made 60 masks so far and about half of them are already gone. Between juggling her newborn, along with four and seven-year-old boys, Reyes says she’s trying to use of any free time to make as many as she can.

“My priority is for hospital staff because they’re first in contact,” Reyes explained when asked if she made these masks for other inquirers. Although, she has made some for elderly people who are more at risk.

Reyes wasn’t the only one concerned by the lack of medical frontline supplies in in the Yakima Valley.

Isabela Ahumada of Mabton is currently studying for her graduate degree at Seattle University to become a nurse practitioner.

Ahumada explained, “I come from a family of nurses. My mom is a Registered Nurse, who studied at Yakima Valley College and my uncle is an army nurse who is currently deployed in Oregon.”

Being so close to the epicenter in Washington, Ahumada heard of the dwindling supplies but was stirred to motivation by the strong words of CEO of Virginia Mason of Yakima, Carole Peet.

Peet said on March 2, during a press conference “No one is coming to save Yakima.”

Those words resonated with Ahumada. “This is my home. These are my people. It was discouraging…I want to support my friends and community that are vulnerable…it could be me on the frontlines in a few months,” she stressed.

Peet’s speech gave the young nurse the drive to look up templates so she could begin sewing masks for local hospitals.

“The first one took me three hours, but then I got it down. I even recruited my mom and my sister, who is also training to be a nurse,” Ahumada conveyed.

Both medical crafters noted there are several types of templates online to make masks.

Reyes conveyed that single block fabrics are all sold out at major craft stores, so buying by the yard of 100 percent cotton might be the better option for others also wishing to help with boosting personal protective gear.

Elizabeth Sustaita can be contacted at 509-837-4500, ext. 114 or email esustaita@sunnysidesun.com.

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