As the coronavirus pandemic goes on, many organizations, businesses and individuals are stepping up to meet the unique challenges of the crisis.
The following are some of the generous and committed members of the local Jewish community who are coming to the aid of the area’s medical frontlines workers.
Fabrics of Life
When the coronavirus outbreak hit this country, Lily Brown and Jessica Chappel Kremen knew they had to do something to help out.
“We wanted to do something to help people who were risking their lives to help others,” says Kremen, a Pikesville resident who with Brown in 2017 co-founded Worthy Threads, an online apparel company for kids. “We change fabrics every season, and we have extra fabric. It adds up over time. So my business partner got the pattern for hospital masks and she started sewing them.”
Since Brown began making masks, Kremen estimates they have donated about 100 face masks to facilities including Sinai Hospital, the University of Maryland and the Homewood Early Learning Center, which provides child care for the children of health care workers.
“We ship 24 masks every other day,” says Kremen.
In addition, she and Brown are happy to send masks to private individuals who request them. “The other day, one woman who is 16 weeks pregnant and is petrified of contracting the virus reached out,” says Kremen. “We said, ‘Of course, we’ll send you a mask.’”
She says someone in New York who has elderly parents and a son with asthma also received masks.
Kremen stressed that the masks that Brown is sewing are “last-resort masks” because they do not have a filter like the masks that are specifically made for medical protection.
“We’ve heard that a lot of medical professionals are wearing our masks over their other masks to make those last longer,” says Kremen. “A lot of people have asked to buy the masks, but we’re not selling them. We’re just giving them to anyone who wants one.”
Kremen says some people have offered to donate money to the cause, but she and her partner say they don’t need donations.
“Honestly, the best thing people can do is stay home!” she says.
For information about Worthy Threads, visit worthy-threads.com.
‘Sliver of Good’
At Nations Photo Lab, equipment is normally used to manufacture photo-related items for cruise lines, resorts and retailers. But with most businesses and travel companies closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Nations turned its attention to the needs of the community.
“We are now creating [personal protective equipment] face shields for the medical community,” says Harvis Kramer, chief operating officer at Millman Multimedia, parent company of Nations. “We are trying to donate them to the people in the most need, while supporting local. Baltimore is our priority.”
With a list of more than 300 hospitals in need of PPE equipment, the Cockeysville-based Nations is planning to donate $100,000 worth of free shields. But because of high demand, once the donation amount is complete, the company plans to produce them for sale at a low cost.
“This is something we can do to help out with the need,” Kramer says. “And because business is so low right now, it’s a way to keep our employees active and working on a project. It serves two purposes, and the response from clients, employees and the communities receiving these shields has been incredible.”
Since starting production, the company has donated shields to hospitals in Maryland, New York, California and Washington.
“When we saw how unprepared so many frontline health care workers were with regards to PPE. we knew we could use our equipment to make a difference,” says Ryan Millman, CEO of Millman Multimedia.
There are criteria in place for creating PPE face shields, and Nations is working directly with the White House Coronavirus Task Force, which provides approval. Currently, the company is committed to manufacturing hundreds of thousands of masks.
“Everyone involved with this project is really proud,” says Kramer. “With all the negativity around us, to have this sliver of good in our lives feels good.”
For information, visit https://www.nationsphotolab.com/ppe.
Yad B’Yad, Hand in Hand
When it became clear that medical professionals and first-responders were facing a mask shortage, students and teachers at Pikesville’s Beth Tfiloh Dahan Community School stepped up to help.
“I started getting emails from staff and students to see if we could use BT’s 3D printers to make masks,” says Vince Bonina, a high school science and engineering teacher. “We were informed face shields were needed, so that is what we are now printing.”
Bonina teamed up with Mark Kaiser, director of information technology and facilities at BT, to get the project underway. So far, Bonina has printed 100 headbands using a 3D file provided by LifeBridge Health. The first batch of face shields were donated to the Pikesville Volunteer Fire Company.
“The nature of the maker movement is to use inexpensive, easily accessible materials to get as close as possible to medical-grade protective equipment in short supply,” says Bonina. “It’s an open source community and we all do better when contributing to open source things. …
“I am extremely lucky BT has given me the opportunity to work in an engineering space in the school that’s allowed me to learn how to do these things and give back,” Bonina says. “Without those opportunities, I don’t think I would be able to create these shields.”
For Dr. Zipora Schorr, Beth Tfiloh’s director of education, giving back is what she tries to teach her students every day.
“Yad b’yad, hand in hand. We are stronger when we have each other, and we are better people when we can give to others,” she says. “This is the best way kids can learn that, ‘It’s not all about me,’ it’s about making the world a better place with kindness, goodness, caring, and faith.”