Sew Love FWB makes over 4,500 masks

Leagh Eagerton
Walton Sun

Sew Love FWB began as a ministry of First Baptist Church of Fort Walton Beach to provide clothing for children in countries with needs for clothing and the love of God. Quickly it grew to include people from other churches and the community at large.

When the pandemic struck, they quickly converted from sewing dresses and shorts and shirts to making masks that are CDC compliant, washable, and two-sided. At first, their goal was to provide much-needed masks for first responders, but they soon realized that the need was far greater — extending to the military, childcare facilities, the county jail, businesses, and individuals — high risk or not.

To date, the group has distributed 4,653 masks. Four hundred ninety-six have gone to six military installations; 241 to 15 doctors' offices, home health care agencies, hospice providers, and nurses; 14 to two veterinary and grooming offices; 220 to 10 hospitals and emergency rooms; 677 to 12 rehab, nursing homes, and assisted living facilities; 385 to six EMS, fire departments, police departments, and sheriffs' departments; 427 to six childcare facilities; 588 to Okaloosa County Dept. of Corrections for inmates and employees; 286 to five mental health and charitable organizations; 575 to 38 businesses; and, the balance to individuals.

Through the generosity of volunteers and many donors, they have been able to provide these masks at no cost to the recipients. There are 62 volunteers, 19 of whom are regular workers either at the space they are currently using or at their homes. Through their gifts of time, material thread, and elastic, Sew Love FWB has been able to distribute masks to 12 states including Florida, to England, and to a navy ship in the Arabian Sea.

Their plan is to continue to Sew Love and to Sow Love as long as the need for masks exists and then to return to making the clothes for the children who need them.