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Amish Community Makes Face Masks for Ohio Clinic in Need

In response to the Northeast Ohio community’s generous requests to provide assistance during the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic, Cleveland Clinic launched a COVID-19 Community Response Campaign.

“During challenging times like these, we see the good in people shine through,” said Tom Mihaljevic, M.D., CEO and President of Cleveland Clinic. “We are exceedingly grateful that people throughout the community have asked how they can help. The Community Response Campaign is Cleveland Clinic’s effort to direct people’s generosity, time and resources to provide meaningful impact for our patients and caregivers in a variety of ways.”

Cleveland Clinic’s COVID-19 Response Campaign priorities included:

Make masks – Follow instructions on making approved masks to help us support the community. These donated masks will be used to help reinforce cough etiquette in our community. Cough etiquette, which includes covering your cough, is an important way to help stop the spread of COVID-19 and protect those around us. These donated masks will not be used by caregivers as Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for clinical care.

Hannah Troyer, an Amish woman from Walnut Creek, Ohio,

is one of thousands who are making protective

equipment to help respond to the coronavirus crisis.

[PHOTO CREDIT: Kelsey Hochstetler / Keim]

The Amish sewing teams are being organized like a family tree with each branch consisting of a team leader and 10 seamstresses. In the space of 48 hours, they sewed 12,000 masks for the Cleveland Clinic, which were then delivered. After filling the initial order from the Clinic, the seamstresses are now being asked to produce an additional 140,000 face covers.

Through connections, John Miller, president of SUPERB Industries, owner of Stitches USA and cofounder of a business owners group in the area, got in touch with the clinic.

"The latent talent that we’ve got here, is seamstresses. Because amish still produce most of their own garments, so it’s not like you have to go out and train people on how to sow {sic}. They already know how to do that. So it was simply a matter of organizing them," said Miller.

Miller decided to bring members of the community together to see if there was something they could do. It didn’t take long for them to mobilize.

Businesses like Keim, where Abe Troyer, executive director of sales, works, were brought in to help. Within a week, about 500 Amish seamstresses were making PPE — an effort Keim President Jim Smucker is proud to be a part of. 

"It’s a wonderful community here and the Amish are very service-oriented. And the Amish also do not take unemployment when they’re out of jobs. And so this is a great way in which we can bring some income to the Amish families, as well as meeting the larger need in society right now," said Smucker.

"They came forward and they were willing to do whatever it took to help our organization in this amazing time of need," said Stamp.

Troyer says this is business as usual for the Amish community. “It was awesome. It was absolutely awesome. It’s a way of life. Basically for us, if a barn burns down, everybody jumps in and helps build a new one, so take that concept in a bigger world concept, it’s the idea of how can we jump in and help.”

And, to the not-so-small group of quilters, seamstresses, sewists and creatives:

“Never underestimate the power of a small group of committed people to change the world. In fact, it is the only thing that ever has.” ~Margaret Mead
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