When the Elko County Emergency Operations Center put in a call to their local University of Nevada, Reno Extension office saying they needed face masks, Extension’s 4-H youth and their families swung into action, making masks not only for the Operations Center, but also for their local School District nutrition services workers who are helping to serve lunches to students who receive free and reduced meals. Similarly, 4-H youth and their families in White Pine County were early responders to the need for masks, and have now made hundreds of masks for the William Bee Ririe Hospital and Rural Health Clinic in Ely.
Once the word got out that 4-Hers were helping to make masks, more requests started coming in.
“I’d say that requests are coming in faster than our 4-H members can sew,” said Jill Baker-Tingey, Extension educator in Elko County.
After these early efforts in Elko and Ely, Nevada 4-H launched a statewide service project to help provide face masks for all Nevada communities. Now, more than 2,000 masks have been provided by 4-H across Nevada, spanning 10 counties, from Reno to Las Vegas, and from Carson City to Elko. The face masks have been donated to hospitals, hospices, health clinics, tribal healthcare, senior centers, emergency operations centers, school districts, state parole offices, and other collaborative mask-making projects.
In addition, over 100 other PPE-related items have been provided by the 4-H service project, including scrub hats, surgical gowns and ear bands/savers, which prevent ear strain and irritation for those wearing masks for extended periods.
Carrie Stark, Nevada 4-H program director with Extension, said, "The whole 4-H community has pitched in – our 4-H youth and their families, as well as 4-H alumni and volunteers."