Prior to March of 2020, I was looking forward to seeing events I had planned for my spring service with Adaland Mansion and Barbour County Historical Museum come to fruition. Adaland would have hosted yoga on the outdoor pavilion and benefited from a spring cleanup event. Community volunteers with the Barbour County Historical Museum were planning on repainting a portion of the Philippi B&O Depot.
The COVID-19 pandemic put these plans on pause, bringing more immediate community needs to light. I resolved to help with the West Virginia (Medical) Mask Army, a pop-up nonprofit organization addressing the personal protective equipment shortage by sewing filter masks.
After establishing that Philippi had a volunteer base ready to sew medical masks, I put together a group order for mask supplies and contacted the Mask Army. The nearest supply hub at the time was in Charleston, so I made the drive to pick up mask-making supplies and began contact-less distribution to volunteers in Philippi.
The Philippi hub was officially started on April 1. I assemble kits, arrange drop-offs, and track masks and distribution from one of my AmeriCorps sites – the Barbour County Historical Museum. As of mid-May our hub has grown to include 37 dedicated volunteers who have produced over 1700 medical masks! Masks have been distributed to essential workers in hospitals, nursing homes, senior centers, homeless shelters, and more. Most recently, the Philippi hub gave 500 masks to the Stonewall Jackson Memorial Hospital in Weston and 45 masks to City of Philippi essential workers.
Despite the need to physically distance during the COVID-19 pandemic, the community has found a way to come together to help.
Virginia served with the Barbour County Historical Museum and Adaland Mansion during the 2019-2020 service year.
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