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Headbands for heroes: Two mothers on a mission to help

Posted at 11:43 PM, Apr 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-13 23:43:39-04

(WKBW) — Buttons, headbands and "The Voice," that’s Vicki Fenstermaker’s Monday night.

“I mean the community outreach and the people who have responded and stepped up and said I want to do this, I want to help, I want to feel a part of this has been incredible," Fenstermaker said over the phone while sewing. The outpouring of support for this: WNY Headbands for Heroes. It’s an initiative started on Facebook just two weeks ago to help bring those on the front lines a little comfort.

"Going into a COVID room or a rule-out COVID room even, you are putting on a gown, a face shield, a bonnet, you’re putting on an N95 mask, you’re putting on two pairs of gloves …and everybody’s ears are getting sore and that’s how this whole thing came about," Fenstermaker said.

The idea is simple — sew buttons on stretchy headbands to provide a little relief. In just two weeks — Fenstermaker and her friend, Dana David, along with the more than 50 local volunteers fulfilled 4,000 headband orders.

While Fenstermaker sews, David is behind the operations. The two put kits together for volunteers to sew and bring back. The finished product goes in these coolers for pickup at their Western New York homes. Turnaround is about five to seven days.

"It was just something that seemed to be in such great need that we just figured why not try to help if we can," David said. It's the donations that keep this going.

From a button machine to headbands and even this Facebook fundraiser, the Western New York community is stepping up to help.

“I think it speaks volumes for Western New York that everybody just gotten together and really help support the mission," David said.

The headbands are for nurses, doctors, respiratory therapists, social workers, janitors and more. Donations have gone to local hospitals like Roswell, St. Joes and St. Mary’s and also downstate to New York City. Anyone who needs one can send a message on Facebook.

“As a nurse, it’s probably one of the most scary times we had," Fenstermaker said. For her, this mission is personal. The Roswell ICU nurse is on the frontlines fighting COVID-19. Her husband is also a doctor at Roswell.

“I think it {headbands} just offers just a little bit of humanity that someone is thinking of them as heroes, not just someone who has a job to do," she said.

There are now 2,000 more orders to go. But these two say they’ll keep bringing hope to heroes as long as donations keep coming in.