HUDSON — With health care services reporting shortages of medical masks, community members are stepping up to make them.

Tori Boomsma’s sewing machine is out of service, but she’s leading an effort to sew masks, providing fabric and elastic to friends. The assistant director of the St. Croix County Historical Society, Boomsma set up a collection box on the front porch of the Octagon House for the masks.

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She has received requests for the masks from nursing homes, hospice workers and clinics. One nursing home has asked for 350 masks.

“The need is out there,” Boomsma said.

River Falls Area Hospital also set up a collection site at its facility, along with other Allina Health facilities.

"Our communities are always looking for ways to help each other. We are so heartened by the response and are grateful for the public wanting to assist us in this critical hour,” said Helen Strike, COVID-19 System Incident Commander for Allina Health, in a news release.

Instructions to make the hand-sewn masks are available at The Octagon House also has instructions on its Facebook page.

Cotton fabric and rope or beading elastic are needed to make the masks.

Allina is also accepting donations of factory-made N95 masks. Those donating should remain in their car, and a staff member will come to them, the release said.

Boomsma learned about the efforts on social media, through a crafters group.

“Quite a few of my groups are sewing masks,” she said.

The Octagon House site had already received 40 masks Monday morning.

“You know Hudson is always going to respond in times of need, that’s just what Hudson does,” Boomsma said. “It’s just really nice to see it.”

The Octagon House will continue collecting the masks as needed. Clinics or health care services in need of masks can request them through the Octagon House Facebook page, Boomsma said.

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