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LVHN asks public to help sew face masks, donate materials

Lehigh Valley Health Network is seeking the community’s help sewing face masks.

Elaine Zelker is doing her part to help health care workers by sewing and donating face masks. PHOTO/SUBMITTED

During the coronavirus emergency, face masks are in critical supply. Those who have a sewing machine and sewing skills are asked to consider making fabric face masks for the LVHN team. Fabric face masks can be used and reused after laundering, according to LVHN. This helps the health care organization preserve their supply of professionally manufactured masks.

If you would like to sew face masks for LVHN, look for face mask sewing patterns and instructions on the web or use instructions (and watch video tutorials) at

Elaine Zelker, a photographer and small business owner based in Easton, has been making hand sewn fabric masks for the past several days, and donating them to local health care organizations.

“I can’t believe it’s come to this,” she said. “I sit here and pray over these masks that they will make their way to health care providers in the Lehigh Valley. I can’t tell you how many people have reached out to me directly to get some…I’ll do my small part…”

Materials you will need to sew a face mask

Use tightly-woven, breathable cotton fabric (preferred) or another tightly-woven, breathable fabric blend, in any color or pattern. You also will need elastic banding that’s used for sewing.

Important: To ensure the health and safety of our employees, only healthy individuals with no one in their household experiencing symptoms should consider donating fabric and masks. Masks donated to LVHN will be laundered prior to use by LVHN colleagues.

Where to bring completed face masks

Bring completed face masks (in a clearly marked bag, box or container), to 2024 Lehigh St., Allentown, Pa., Monday-Friday, 7 a.m.-6 p.m. More locations are coming soon.

Those who do not sew can donate fabric and other materials needed to make face masks by dropping the items off to 2024 Lehigh St., Allentown, Pa., Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-3 p.m.


Dawn Ouellette Nixon
Dawn Ouellette Nixon is a career journalist who believes that good journalism can change the world. As the health care reporter, she covers everything from small town medicine to big pharma. You can also find her chasing a good business story in Berks County. She can be reached at or 610-807-9619, extension 4118.

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