In June, BRIDGES reached out to Tina LoPresti of the Masked Warriors Project based locally in Rockland County and asked if they could make 250 communicator masks. We wanted to purchase these masks with a donation BRIDGES received. These masks aid the deaf and hard of hearing population as one can see a person’s mouth while speaking. The project was winding down, but Tina not only offered to put out a call to volunteers, but also said the masks would be donated to BRIDGES
Each mask takes about one hour to produce. The masks are thoughtfully designed to allow for any hearing devices and they are attractive as well. The clear window is vital in helping deaf/hard of hearing individuals read lips
Tina posted on their Facebook group to see how many volunteers she could get and how many masks they’d be willing to make. In the meantime, she had been researching patterns. It seems the ones that tie behind the head – as opposed to looping behind the ears – may be best, especially if someone is already wearing a hearing device in their ear. “I’m also tracking down supplies,” she said. Tina had fabric that had been previously donated as well as the ties, but trying to find a thin enough plastic that would be easy to sew with but still offer protection for the wearer was the challenge. Tina kept us in the loop the entire way.
By mid-July we heard back from Tina with great news! “We have our volunteers and materials. We even had a group out of Westchester donate medical grade clear vinyl to us to use for the see-through part! We’re starting sewing today. I’ll let you know as soon as the masks are ready!” said Tina.
Today MWP dropped off 200 communicator masks. The team at BRIDGES is immensely appreciative of the generosity of local organizations like Masked Warriors Project and are excited for the possibilities that these masks will bring the deaf/HOH community.
To learn more about the Masked Warriors Project, click here