Masks for the Frontlines Iowa formed early in the pandemic (3/20/20) in response to a need expressed by the frontline (medical staff, social workers, service workers) when PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) was difficult to find. Hearing stories of people having to reuse masks and having limited or no access to masks, sent this group into mass production of fabric masks. What started as a small group developed into more and more sewists coming together and sharing their talents. Over 600 sewists have contributed to the production of over 100,000 masks to date and they are still working hard. They have a Facebook page and a website where they provide information to sewists on patterns and track requests. https://masksforiowa.com/ Mosaic in Central Iowa was blessed in March to be one of the early recipients of fabric masks from Masks for the Frontlines Iowa. At a crucial time of need, they provided over 200 fabric masks to our workforce. Additionally, a few sewists even responded to special requests for masks for the people we serve. Incredible Hulk and Little Mermaid masks made the idea of wearing a mask a little more tolerable for them! Fabric scrub caps, gowns, and mask extenders were also made by a few of the sewists. Although this was outside the scope of their focus, they were willing to step in and fill a need.
Additionally, the Des Moines Area Quilters Guild has also responded to the community's need for fabric masks. From July 20 - August 15 alone, this group made and delivered over 17,000 masks. https://www.dmaqg.org/community-outreach/ Mosaic in Central Iowa was blessed to receive a variety of styles and fabrics to match the individual preferences of our workforce. Within two weeks of our request, we received over 200 masks. With the help of Masks for the Frontlines and the Des Moines Area Quilters Guild along with individual sewists, we were able to ensure our entire workforce had at least two fabric masks. After responding to our need for masks, the Quilters Guild turned to making their beloved quilts. We have been gifted with over 80 unique and colorful quilts for the people we serve at Mosaic.
Easterseals Iowa's Child Development Center (CDC), an integrated childcare center for children with and without disabilities, remained open through the pandemic. Children of essential workers had a safe place to go while their parents and caregivers continued to work. On top of the typical childcare center, we also opened wrap-around childcare for children older than what the CDC typically serves. Once the school year started again, we were able to continue this programming and offer a place for school-aged children to come and do virtual, or hybrid model schooling in our facilities.
The Easterseals Iowa team members have really gone above and beyond for our clients during 2020. Social isolation is a huge barrier for persons with disabilities in a typical year, so the added stress of a pandemic made socialization even more difficult. Our team members came up with creative ways to keep our clients connected to their community; they assisted clients with everything from Tai Chi at home, writing cards to people in nursing homes, Zoom calls with friends, virtual cards, homemade pizza nights, and so much more. Easterseals Team Members continued to step up to the plate when clients became ill. They cared for clients in their homes, drove them to doctor's appointments, and overall helped ensure health and safety for all. These team members truly are heroes in our community!
Lutheran Services in Iowa
Our mission at Lutheran Services in Iowa (LSI) is to empower Iowans with disabilities as they build independent lives and engage in their communities. That mission has not stopped during the COVID-19 crisis.
Ada is a frontline supervisor working with a team of direct support professionals who support Iowans experiencing intensive disabilities and medical conditions. Ada and her team support residents needing 24/7 support to live in community homes. Staff help residents to build meaningful lives through integrated living and connections to community activities.
Due to COVID, residents have not been able to safely see their families or participate in volunteering or work, so LSI frontline supervisors and direct support professionals have provided a familiar face and structure when everything else feels uncertain.
Meanwhile, Ada and her team are working longer hours to ensure they follow additional safety precautions, protecting both themselves and the people they serve. “We are an essential part of residents’ daily life, regardless of whatever storm lies in front of us. My work is needed for my clients to survive,” Ada says. “But they are essential to me and the other staff. They are the reason we do what we do.”