JACKSON COUNTY, Miss. (WLOX) - The Jackson County Fab Lab is turning donated shirts and fabrics from businesses into reusable masks for schools across the coast.
According to Scott Beebe, Fab Lab manager, the goal is to make more than 4,500 masks for students and teachers for the new school year approaching.
“There’s tons of kids getting ready to go sit in school that don’t have the ability to get masks that are washable. They’re getting the ones that are thrown away,” said Beebe. “Well if we can make something that is reusable, now we’re creating a supply that wasn’t there before.”
Chevron is partnering together to make more than 4,500 masks by awarding the Fab Lab a $10,000 grant.
“With students going back to school and there are many that, unfortunately, can not afford a mask,” said Amy Brandenstein, Chevron Community Affairs Representative. “Anything that we can do to ensure that our students and community members are healthy and safe, we want to do it.”
The Fab Lab uses a laser engraver to cut through fabric. Thus, carving out the design for a face mask that volunteers then sew together. The Fab Lab also created over 800 3D printed masks and face shields for healthcare workers and first responders during quarantine.
“Every little bit that somebody can do helps in some way. So if we all just found how we could be part of the solution instead of complaining about the problem, then we can solve this,” said Beebe. “We have to do something to figure out what that new normal looks like and if that means sewing masks in your living room at night while you’re watching T.V., then sew masks in your living room at night while you’re watching T.V.”
After cutting, sewing, and boxing up the masks on Tuesday, Beebe made a quick trip from the Fab Lab in Vancleave to Pascagoula High School. He then hand delivered the first batch of 300 masks to Pascagoula High School Principal Dr. Caterria Payton.
“I was gracious, very gracious, to hear that not only are we preparing to keep our students safe,” said Payton. “But our community providers are also working alongside of us to keep our students safe.”
The Fab Lab will be delivering thousands more masks to schools over the upcoming weeks.