October 7, 2021
Tzu Chi’s Palo Villagers sew Facemasks to Raise Funds for HFNC
By Joy Rojas
At Great Love Village in Palo, Leyte, volunteers organized a facemask fundraiser to support Tzu Chi Foundation’s efforts to donate high flow nasal cannula (HFNC) oxygen machines to hospitals treating COVID-19 patients. Made with excess fabrics collected from members of the community, the masks cost P25 each. Profits from the sale of the masks will help cover the cost of a HFNC machine.
A high flow nasal cannula oxygen machine supplies a patient with heated (37°C) and humidified (100%) oxygen levels of up to 60 liters per minute. This helps soothe narrowed or blocked airways. COVID-positive patients who undergo HFNC oxygen therapy not only find it comfortable to use, they feel better enough to do without the more expensive and invasive intubation (or the insertion of a breathing tube into the mouth and into the airway).
“We thought of making facemasks to sell because most of our volunteers are sewers trained by the Tzu Chi Foundation,” says volunteer Randy Militante. “It wasn’t hard for us to convince the sewers to help because a lot of them have been taught to be skilled sewers by the foundation. Now they happily want to help their fellowmen by making masks.”
Sewers are just one sector contributing to this cause. “Fabrics that I don’t need I donated to Tzu Chi so they can make masks out of them,” says Hilda Asis.
“I found out that Tzu Chi was selling facemasks,” says Rina Olimpo. “That’s why I’m here today, to buy and help in their fundraising activity.”
After collecting discarded fabric, volunteers sort through the materials, choosing which to make into facemasks. “The rest are used for making rugs and potholders,” says volunteer Marmil Roaring. Once thoroughly disinfected, washed, and hung to dry, the fabrics are then cut, sewn into facemasks, and sold to villagers.
“Since we started the fundraiser, we have made 200 pieces,” says volunteer Cherry Gutierrez. “I usually am able to make 10-15 pieces of masks in one hour. We are very happy to make these facemasks because with this little effort we know that it would somehow help others. And that’s what’s most important.”
To buy facemasks, potholders, and rugs, visit the Tzu Chi Palo Great Love Livelihood Center in Barangay San Jose, Palo, Leyte, or call (0920) 415-6702.