April 30, 2020
Amish Community Contributes Hundreds Of Masks To EveryStep
During the COVID-19 crisis, organizations and communities have supported each other in new and unexpected ways.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, EveryStep has been building a supply of official personal protective equipment (PPE) for its hospice and home care staff as they continue to visit patients.
Additionally, the organization also wanted to ensure each of its nearly 400 employees – including those who don’t provide direct care – was equipped with a fabric “barrier” mask to provide protection for day-to-day use.
Obtaining such a stockpile of masks may have seemed like an unsurmountable task, but EveryStep employee Tammy Stapp immediately knew where to turn for help. Stapp, a vice president and chief compliance officer for the organization, grew up close to an Amish community near Bloomfield. She knew the community would have both the skills and capacity to quickly sew hundreds of masks.
“Stopping the spread of this virus is a community matter and I knew that asking for help could help EveryStep stay out in front of what we are trying to do with keeping our workforce prepared and safe,” Stapp says. “I also knew that it was possible that the Amish community had limited information about this public health crisis and we could share what we knew to help keep them more prepared and safe. Reaching out seemed like an opportunity to work together for the greater good.”
Stapp reached out to Delbert Beechy, a member of the Amish community. Beechy’s business, Lone Oak Sewing, is a mainstay in the Amish community of more than 300 families. While Beechy does not keep a phone in his home, he does have one at his business. Stapp left him a message explaining the need, and Beechy soon enlisted a half-dozen seamstresses to help with the project.
“We want to try to help along with what we can,” Beechy says, adding that he was a little skeptical about the masks himself. “There’s probably opinions that vary among our people, and the extremes we should go to."
Knowing the Amish community might not readily have access to information about COVID-19 and CDC recommendations, Stapp brought a folder full of educational handouts to the community, encouraging them to distribute the handouts and ask her questions.
“They were very appreciative,” says Stapp, who is also leading the team at EveryStep responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The masks sewn by the Amish community – along with masks made by dozens of EveryStep staff and supporters – have since been distributed to EveryStep employees.
Now skilled at making the masks, Beechy and his team want other organizations and businesses to know that they welcome additional orders. To learn more, please leave a voicemail for Beechy at Lone Oak Sewing, 641-722-3071 extension #1, and he will return your call.
Beechy also has a message for those of us who now spend countless hours at home and struggle with the disruption to our normal routines. “It probably doesn’t hurt us to slow down, to be thankful…to bring us closer.”