Sheets shown on Mask Task Force Facebook page that will be made into masks.

Nearly 200 people in Clinton County have teamed up to make and distribute cloth face masks.

Dianne Prichard of DeWitt is coordinating the “Clinton Mask Force,” which has delivered masks “by the hundreds” to hospitals in the county.

“I’m not going to slow down the mask making,” Prichard says. “It’ll be great if we have so many we have to throw them away, but so far we haven’t.”

The group is making masks for other health care providers, plus residents in the county are ordering masks, too. By last Friday, the group had produced about 3000 masks.

“I’ll tell you, the masks that we have collected from our sewers…would get blue ribbons at the county fair,” Prichard says. “The quality is excellent.”

Two patterns were provided by local hospitals and people are donating the fabric.

“Quarter inch elastic is a hot commodity in the sewing market right now,” Prichard says. “It’s almost impossible to get, so we’ve counted on people to donate that, to go through their grandmother’s sewing closet and find stuff.”

Some people cut out the pieces of the pattern. Others do the sewing. Volunteers park their cars in parking lots in Clinton and DeWitt several times a week, pop open the car trunks and those who’ve ordered masks come to pick up their labeled packages.

“If you want motorcycles and bunnies, find somebody else to make your mask,” Prichard says. “We just make masks out of whatever we have donated.”

Prichard says this experience has been “a silver lining” in the midst of the pandemic, as she’s watched people generously volunteer their time, talents and materials to help others.

(By Dave Vickers, KROS, Clinton; Radio Iowa’s O. Kay Henderson also contributed to this story.)