April 10, 2020 – The
COVID-19 pandemic has affected the entire world. On a personal level, people are
practicing social distancing, wearing facemasks and finding inventive
ways to work and visit loved ones without leaving home. On a national
level, unemployment is high, the economy is low, and Personal Protective
Equipment (PPE) shortages are a growing concern for hospitals and health
care facilities. But during these uncertain, turbulent times, one thing
has remained steadfast in our corner of southeast Georgia: community support.
When it became apparent that obtaining PPE would be increasingly difficult,
Southeast Georgia Health System put out a call to anyone who had the means
and willingness to sew cloth masks to help supplement their supplies.
That call did not go unanswered. Since March 30, when they began accepting
cloth mask donations, the Health System has received more than 1,400 masks.
Kristin Doll, CAVS, director of
Volunteer Services, coordinates the cloth mask donations. “I’m so touched every
time I collect the masks from our donation bins. To read the notes of
gratitude and encouragement included with the donations and to think about
the generosity of the donors—their time and contribution of materials
for the project—is really heartwarming,” she says. “Life
has been extremely difficult for many people in recent weeks, yet seeing
our community come together to help one another in a time of need is something
very special that we can all be grateful for.”
Cloth masks have been donated by individuals, like Ms. Debbie Williamson,
and through the efforts of organizations such as Twin Rivers Baptist Church
(Hortense, GA), Brunswick Women’s Club, Sweet Rivers Fabric with
Brunswick Bedding & Upholstery and Farmers Interiors, the sewing ministry
at Frederica Baptist Church, St. Simons Island Strummers & The Banditas,
Glynn County Medical Alliance, Great Expectations Sewing & Alterations,
Brunswick Actor’s Guild, Beyond Fabric, Professional Embroidery
Specialists, Satilla Quilters, Christ Church Frederica, Island Drapes
and Upholstery, Nancy’s, Scrappy Rooster Quilt Shop, and Southeast
Georgia Health System Volunteer Services. Additionally, many mask donations
have been submitted anonymously.
When masks are donated, Doll works in coordination with Health System departments
and leadership to determine the locations in most need of PPE. “Our
first donations were sent to our Senior Care Centers for team members
and residents.” Doll says. “Then we began distribution to
our team members who work in departments that do not perform direct patient
care in order to preserve our PPE resources for clinical team members.
Some have gone to our administrative team members, finance, business office,
labs, medical records, patient experience, etc.”
Doll adds, “And the notes of encouragement and support we often receive
with the masks are touching. Today, we received a mask donation and sweet
note from a patient who was on their way to have surgery. The note indicated
they would make more if needed once they recover from their procedure.
Another donation from Leigh Kosidowski of Patterson, Georgia, submitted
masks, ‘made with love, gratitude and prayers for your health and
well-being, in honor of my brother, Jim O’Conner, a nurse in SICU.’
The community support is so heartfelt in a time when the need is so great.
Our community has truly stepped up to meet that need.”
For those interested in contributing, the Health System is still accepting
cloth mask donations. Masks must be made of a tightly woven cotton fabric.
They are laundered in high heat with bleach, so elastic straps or cloth
ties are preferred. Rubber bands or other improvised materials that cannot
withstand the laundering process should be avoided. The mask must be large
enough to completely cover the nose and mouth, and prewashing the fabric
is recommended due to shrinkage.
“We have received some masks with elastic and some with ties as well
as varying design styles,” says Doll. “Different people have
different preferences; it’s been nice to have a variety for our
team members to choose what fits best for them.”
Cloth mask drop-off bin locations are open weekdays, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
BRUNSWICK CAMPUS (at the temporary main entrance)
2415 Parkwood Drive, Brunswick
The bin is located under the covered parking area on the corner of Parkwood
Drive and Kemble Avenue.
CAMDEN CAMPUS (at the Main Entrance to the hospital)
2000 Dan Proctor Drive, St. Marys
The bin is located just inside the lobby doors.
Donations should include:
- Name(s) of the sewers.
- Name of the group or business who sewed/donated the masks.
- Contact phone number or email.
“Many people in our community have either received services from
us or personally know one of our team members, so there is a real sense
of connection when we receive these masks made by our very own friends,
neighbors and patients,” says
Michael D. Scherneck, Health System president & CEO. “Our mission and focus has always
been to serve the health needs of those in the communities we serve and
to now have these communities help serve our health needs in return is
Questions regarding cloth mask donations may be directed to Kristin Doll,
CAVS, director, Southeast Georgia Health System Volunteer Services. Call
912-466-1071 or email
If you experience symptoms or were exposed to someone infected with COVID-19,
call the Health System’s Screening Hotline at 912-466-7222, Monday-Friday,
8 a.m.-5 p.m. For COVID-19 updates, visit