UNOH Employee Makes Masks during COVID-19 Crisis

Posted on Thursday, April 09, 2020


Shelby Young, UNOH employee, making masks at home

In times of crisis, look for the helpers. Look for those who are putting the needs of others and the needs of the community first.  One person doing just that is UNOH’s Shelby Young.  Shelby works in the Virtual College Support Department, and also teaches a few Virtual College classes at the University of Northwestern Ohio.  Living with three healthcare workers, Shelby knows first-hand what it means to stay safe and healthy during the COVID-19 outbreak. 

One item with a growing shortage is face masks.  Recently, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine suggested that any Ohioan going out into public should wear a mask to both protect themselves and others from spreading the virus.  With medical masks being reserved for healthcare employees, Shelby tapped into her sewing skills and started making masks for her family, neighbors, and friends.

Shelby is not new to sewing, she learned how to sew from her dad when she was just 8 years old.  Since then, it’s always been a hobby of hers.  In the past she made a breast cancer quilt that was raffled off with all the proceeds helping women in the local community pay for breast cancer screenings. When mask patterns started appearing online from local and state agencies, Shelby got to work.

“The process for making the masks is pretty simple,” Shelby says. “I have two sizes: one for men, and one for women. And I’m using the recommended 100% tightly woven cotton with a cotton cord instead of elastic which tends to be more comfortable and can be tied to fit the wearer. I cut the cotton pieces four times and then sew the mask together. I usually work in steps, so I cut a bunch, then sew a bunch. In about an hour I would say I can make 12 masks.”

Another perk about the custom cotton masks, there is a small opening in the bottom seam where the user can insert extra filtration layers if they choose, “Things like cut vacuumed cleaner bags, HEPA furnace filter layers, and other absorbent natural materials work well.”

Shelby has been following all the recommended guidelines for making the masks.  There are two distinct colors or patters for each side of the mask so the user knows which side is facing their nose and mouth, and which side faces out. 

Shelby doesn’t put a price on the masks, but accepts donations that will be used towards buying supplies to make additional masks. Currently working from home, Shelby says she will keep making masks as long as there is a need, “I’m so grateful I have the opportunity to maintain employment and being able to work from home but I know that’s not the reality for everyone and I want to do what I can to help others out.”

Looking for a mask for yourself or a loved one?  Shelby recommends connecting with her through Facebook or searching on Facebook for masks as there are many people in the community who are all doing their part to help out during the COVID-19 crisis.

Category: Campus & Community

Keywords: Shelby Young, Covid-19, Face Masks

Press Contact

UNOH Public Relations

Last updated: 04/22/2020