Northern Wyoming News - Serving the Big Horn Basin for over 100 years

By George Horvath
Staff Writer 

Homemade masks to slow COVID-19 in the Big Horn Basin


April 23, 2020

WORLAND – When Meg Stark realized that there was a shortage of medical masks in the country, she reckoned the local hospital might need some to help slow the spread of COVID-19. She was right.

Along with Sue Howe, Stark organized a group of women at the end of March to sew medical masks for Banner Health Washakie Medical Center, other local agencies and “anybody that wants them,” as Stark explained.

By last Thursday, the women had sewn 1,175 masks, with 550 so far going to WMC, hundreds more for the Washakie County and Hot Springs County Public Health Departments, a couple hundred masks for the Wyoming Boys School, and still more masks going to several other local agencies and businesses.

Stark drew from her long experience coordinating the Washakie Hospital Auxiliary’s efforts to sew special pillows and many other kinds of items to enhance patient comfort, diminish the stress of hospital stays and optimize the work environment for hospital personnel. The Auxiliary already had three big bolts of flannel cloth on hand.

“The masks are nine inches by 13 inches. There’s a layer of cotton material and a layer of flannel, and it’s pleated,” Stark said.

The masks are made according to patterns outlined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as well as by The Turban Project, a nonprofit organization that for many years has provided free handmade headwear to people who have lost their hair for medical reasons.

“All kinds of women have pitched in to do this,” Stark said.

Individuals, agencies and businesses who are in need of masks are encouraged to visit the “Love Thy Neighbor - Washakie County” Facebook group (, or to contact Stark directly at 347-3845.

For ladies (or even gentlemen) who are interested in making masks, Stark has mask-making kits, each with enough material to make 15 masks. The same Love Thy Neighbor Facebook page also provides links to instructions and helpful hints for making masks.


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