Stony Brook swimming and diving’s Sara Chin discovered a new hobby with a friend back home a couple of years ago, making scrunchies from recycled fabric for fun. Now, the extra materials as well as the skills Chin acquired from that hobby are being utilized for a greater cause.
Despite self-isolating at home in California, Chin discovered a way to aid healthcare workers. Shortly after returning to the West Coast from Stony Brook, the junior discovered a video with instructions about how to make basic face masks and how to donate the items.
Chin dug up her leftover scrunchie fabric and got to work at a sewing machine.
“My mom and I have an assembly line set up in our living room,” Chin said. “She’ll cut all of the fabric and iron it, and I’ll sew it and pleat it. With the two of us, the process to make one mask goes pretty quickly.”
Chin closely feels the impact of the pandemic. Both of her parents work in healthcare.
Her father Steven is an ER doctor. Her mother Debra is a pediatric dietician.
Chin estimates the mother-daughter duo have completed approximately 180 masks since beginning the mask-making project in mid-March.
Although her homemade masks don’t meet the standard of official surgical masks, hospital employees who work elsewhere in the facility, including café workers, benefit from her labor. Both of her parents have distributed the masks to colleagues at their hospitals. Chin also has distributed the masks to friends to help protect themselves and their families.
Municipalities, including Los Angeles, are beginning to recommend everyone wear face coverings when going out in public, while continuing to maintain social distancing.
“Considering that both of my parents work in health care, this hits close to home,” said Chin, who represented the Seawolves in the 100 breaststroke, 100 free and 50 free at the America East Championships in mid-February. “I’ve just been trying to help in any way that I can.”