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Allegan business sewing more than 200 masks a day to donate to healthcare workers

The Sassy Olive is making 200-250 masks each day.

ALLEGAN, Mich. — A West Michigan boutique that specializes in custom headwear is donating homemade masks for medical workers amid a statewide shortage due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

"I've been a fabric hoarder for many years," said Landria Christman, owner of the Sassy Olive in Allegan. "This just gives me an excuse to go out and get some more cotton and put it to a good cause."

Christman and her staff started making the cotton masks on March 21.

"There was a pattern put out supported by the CDC in times of emergency," she said. "Obviously, these aren't what we want all the time."

The masks are not considered personal protective equipment like surgical masks or N95 respirators. But the CDC said health care professionals may use homemade masks as a last resort

"Homemade masks should ideally be used in combination with a face shield that covers the entire front (that extends to the chin or below) and sides of the face," according to the CDC's face mask web page. 

Christman knows not everyone can use her masks, but has received many requests from local health care workers. 

RELATED: Kalamazoo County asking people who sew to make face masks for health care providers

"They'll be able to wash them and reuse them and help prolong the life of the other masks they can wear under these cotton ones," Christman said. "My goal is to continue until the pandemic is well under control and supplies are back in stock."

The Sassy Olive is accepting donations for its homemade mask venture. Customers can also make eligible purchases that go towards the business' "Sassy Stops the Spread" campaign. 

West Michigan companies and universities have donated masks and other supplies to local hospitals during the COVID-19 pandemic. A group on Facebook recently started called West Michigan OSMS with the goal of facilitating and organizing supply donations. 

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