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Sewing community comes together to help frontline workers

Posted at 6:29 PM, Mar 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-01 15:28:48-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — It started with an idea.

"I thought, let's just reach out and see what we can do," Phil McNamara said. "It snowballed from there."

Two weeks later, Phil McNamara's trunk is loaded with medical supplies, including masks sewn and donated by volunteers across Western New York.

"Most of these masks are adults," McNamara said. "But we've had people make smaller ones for kids."

All of the supplies are because of a group called Buffalo Resilience, operated by McNamara. He's seen more than 1,000 people join his Facebook group and utilize their website.

"It's giving people who are now stuck at home a sense of purpose and a sense of meaning," McNamara said. "It loses that sense of helplessness that I think a lot of people do have."

Masks can be dropped off at one of three locations including the rear loading dock at Resurgence Brewing Company on Chicago Street near downtown Buffalo. But it goes so much further beyond those making the masks at home.

Eric Winstanley is the sewing room manager at Custom Covers & Canvas in Niagara Falls. He, along with 3D printers in the area, are part of a collaboration; taking the simple cloth mask to a new level.

"There's a 3D printed section at the top and then the guys at Custom Covers & Canvas can actually cut up to 1,000 of these plastic sheets a day," McNamara said.

"There are other people that have equipment who have the molds or the plastic piece or to cut more vinyl," Winstanley added. "Everybody just wants to come together and help."

Sewers and companies coming together, showing exactly what it means to be "Buffalo Strong".

McNamara said, "The community's just really stepping up when it's necessary to support our front line medical staff who are stepping up when it's really necessary."

To volunteer or help, visit www.buffaloresilience.com or check out their Facebook page.