The Hyde-Park based Lakeside Quilting Guild has leapt into action to help combat COVID-19, producing hospital gowns and protective masks for local health and nursing home institutions.
To date, they have produced nearly 1,500 masks and 80 hospital gowns for the University of Chicago Medical Center, La Rabida Children’s Hospital, Rush Hospital’s Maternity Ward, Montgomery Place and Plymouth Retirement Home. T
heir efforts began in early March, according to President Emeritus Camille Levi, a founding member. Since then they have adapted their production to meet changing needs.
In the beginning, when it was difficult for local hospitals to obtain protective masks, Guild members produced masks with protective cloth for healthcare workers. Then, as supplies of protective masks increased, quilters switched to making cotton masks geared towards everyday use. Staff at the University of Chicago Hospital now distribute their masks to visitors and people discharged from the hospital.
Finding materials also proved difficult, Levi explained. “Typically, when a quilter or sewer makes something, they go to a fabric store like Joann Fabrics or Michael’s. But then they shut down or sold out. There was no protective fabric, there was no elastic. So instead we had to go to non-conventional places like Home Depot, in the garden department.”
Another member drew on their connection with an international sailing group, sourcing gown materials from a member in Sweden, and producing packets of tools and materials from a sail maker.
“Regardless of the task, quilters are just resourceful,” said Levi, “We’ve been able to get everything because of the resourcefulness of the quilters.”
Levi emphasized how this volunteer work forms a continuation of earlier efforts to meet community needs, efforts which have included making quilts for Jackson Park Hospital, Hyde Park Transitional Housing and the newborn center at Rush Hospital. “This clarion call for help was nothing unusual for us. We’re use to using the protective warmth of the quilt to make whatever is needed for the community.”
Guild members continue to meet online via Zoom weekly, and invite anybody who would like to join to contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit their website at lakesidequiltingguild.weebly.com. They are also seeking support through the Amazon Smile Program, which enables Amazon users to select Lakeside Quilting Guild as a recipient of an Amazon donation when they purchase items online.
A press release explains that the Lakeside Quilting Guild’s 30th anniversary quilt show, "Everybody Loves Quilts," has been postponed to fall.