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Hope for Tampa Brings Arts, Wellness, and Community Together in Response to COVID-19

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TAMPA, Fla. - eTradeWire -- Volunteers across Tampa Bay have joined forces in the fight to help defeat the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. What started as a Facebook post just a few days ago has grown to become a local movement of nearly 400 volunteers sewing masks for medical and healthcare workers in the Tampa Bay area.

"I thought I'd get a few people together to start sewing masks," said Hope N. Griffin, Director of Events and Faith-Based Programs for The Storytellers Alliance, "but I also wanted to make sure they had the supplies they needed."

Griffin reached out to The Kirby Project about partnering in their annual Egg-My-House fundraiser. "We wanted to do our part," said Lakesha Cole, founder of The Kirby Project, "this year, proceeds will go towards buying supplies to help a team of local volunteers make face masks to help reduce the shortage in response to COVID-19."

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With funding in place, Griffin then reached out to the founder of Babycycle Diaper Bank. "I saw that my cousin (Griffin) in Hillsborough and my friend (Kelly Thompson, Owner and Designer at ElliMoon) in Pinellas each saw a need in their own community and had the same vision," said founder,  Torrie Jasuwan. "We brought the two together and offered our support with logistics and distribution to more than 35 local organizations."

"Once Hope and I connected, we created a Facebook group as a forum for medical professionals and sewers to connect to meet the needs," Thompson said.

When asked about the shortage of mission-critical supplies, a Pinellas County ER physician said, "We just need to be prepared. The masks are important because they help to protect the nursing staff and physicians from contracting the virus and bringing it home to their own families or becoming quarantined to where they can't help the people who really need it."

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Hope for Tampa is receiving new requests every day, "Hospice workers, nurses, assisted living facilities, and ER doctors have been reaching out to us asking for masks," Griffin said. "It's great that Hope for Tampa has been able to provide a creative outlet for our volunteers, and even better that we are connecting arts, wellness, and community during a time when many of us are feeling isolated from the rest of the world."

"The best part is seeing everyone come together," said Thompson. "With each mask, we are telling a doctor or nurse, 'We see you, and we appreciate you.'"

If your organization is in need of medical masks, or if you want to join the movement as a volunteer to sew, deliver masks, or provide any other support, please visit http://hopefortampa.hopengriffin.com/.

Contact
Jennifer Harman
President
***@thestorytellersalliance.com


Source: The Storytellers Alliance
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Filed Under: Health, Arts

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