Winthrop Resident Uses Talent to Support Healthcare Workers

The COVID-19 pandemic has upended the lives of millions of Americans. For resident Krystina Monahan, the shift hasn’t been easy, however; she is using the talent and resources that she has to help healthcare employees who are faced with dwindling supplies.

When the La Siesta bartender and mother of two heard that medical professionals were desperate for materials and protection, she stepped in and decided to use her talent to donate handmade masks.

Krystina Monahan shows off one of the masks she has been making to provide to medical professionals during the coronavirus crisis.

“I can’t imagine how scary it is to go to work every day during something like this, knowing that you don’t have the proper supplies to protect yourself,” said Monahan, who, in addition to bartending, makes home décor and accessories on Etsy for her business, Lovebug Handmade.

“While these handmade masks do not provide all of the same protection as a medical grade mask, they are better than the alternatives that some nurses are being faced with. Some are forced to use a headband, bandana, or paper towel. They can also be used as washable covers for medical masks that are having to be reused.”

Monahan began her mask-making journey one week ago and was grateful to discover online tutorials and an entire community of crafters with the same mission. So far, she’s made over 50 masks, 25 which have been delivered to Mass General Hospital and East Boston Neighborhood Health Center.

To make the masks, Monahan sews elastics into the side seams of a nine inch by seven inch rectangle cloth. She then top stitches them with pleating on the sides to allow for an accurate fit. For added protection she makes them with two layers, cotton quilting fabric on the outside and cotton flannel on the inside.

“Craft stores have been selling out of the sewing elastic that is needed to make the masks. I fortunately have an abundance of fabric, elastic and miscellaneous craft supplies due to the nature of my small business.”

While Monahan is faced with the same struggles as many out of work employees, she is finding the blessings in time at home with her family. Her two boys, (Elliot, 6 and Mason, 12) are used to witnessing her cutting, pinning and sewing at the dining room table.

“My partner, Chris Alberto, is also very supportive and helpful when it comes to balancing our parenting. The one blessing to come out of all of this is that we have a lot more time together now that we are all home, self-isolating. So even though I am spending a good amount of time on the masks, I still have the time to spend with my boys, playing games, doing puzzles or having movie night.”   

Monahan urges interested crafters to join the Facebook group, “Hands That Care,” for links to patterns and tutorials. For more information, please email her at: [email protected].

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