By Lynn R. Parks

In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, medical caregivers at Nanticoke Memorial Hospital are wearing plastic face shields to protect them from becoming infected. The shields are attached to a tight-fitting band that fastens around the wearer’s head.

There was a problem, though, according to hospital spokeswoman Sharon Harrington: The head gear bands tend to pull hair, making them uncomfortable to wear.

Seaford Lioness Club member Bonny Hastings looks over the fabric that she will use to make surgical caps for workers at Nanticoke Memorial Hospital. Submitted photo

To the rescue: the Seaford Lioness Club. The organization purchases eye glasses for students, makes donations to area nursing homes, sponsors families for Christmas and puts together bags of supplies for foster babies. And now, its members are cooperating in an effort to help workers at the hospital.

Starting March 28, they are sewing surgical caps that the medical professionals can wear beneath the face shields, protecting their hair from the bands. “The caps make the gear more comfortable,” Harrington said.

As of Monday morning, the Lioness members, as well as friends that have joined in the effort, had made 318 caps. “We will make caps until the hospital tells us that they have enough,” club spokeswoman Melissa Cooper said. “Our group is full of energy and enthusiasm!”

The caps are made of cotton in a variety of patterns. “We have had all types of prints: stripes, plaids, flowers, balloons, polka dots, footballs, tractors, sailboats, even Harry Potter fabric, has been put to good use,” Cooper said.

The cloth has been supplied by club members, as well as by people in the community who read about the effort on the club’s Facebook page. “It has been very gratifying to see the local support for this project,” Cooper said.

Fabric Central, set up on a club member’s front porch, is where the sewers can pick up fabric, elastic and patterns. The fabric is washed, dried and, if necessary, ironed, then cut into pieces that are sewn together on machines to make the caps.

The finished product is dropped off at Fabric Central. Cooper gathers up all the caps and delivers them to the home of Lori Lee, assistant vice president of nursing at Nanticoke, who takes them to the hospital.

At all times, club members practice the social distancing that is recommended. “No visiting and no more than two on the porch at one time,” Cooper said.

Cooper said that she learned of the need for surgical caps from her daughter, Hillary James, who is a registered nurse in the progressive care unit at Nanticoke. “When your son or daughter asks you to help with something, of course you’re all in,” Cooper said. “It was only a few hours between the moment my daughter asked if we could help and the moment that we had ladies sewing. We knew that we could rise to the challenge. We all felt that this was the right thing to do and the American thing to do. We want our local hospital to know that the employees there, who are on the front lines, are not alone; that we have their backs through this very long, tedious and fearful time.”

Harrington said that the new caps have been very welcome at the hospital. “Having the support of our community has been so important to lifting spirits,” she added. “It will only become more and more important in the weeks to come. Words cannot express how important it is to know that our community cares and supports us.”

Cooper said that the Seaford Lioness Club is a long-time supporter of Nanticoke Health Services, as well as of the city itself. “We believe in small-town America and we believe in the American spirit,” she said. “We hope that our organization represents how easily each of us can show kindness and support. Seaford is busting at the seams with good, honest and hardworking individuals. When as crisis, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, happens, we come together for the good of the cause.”

To help:

Nanticoke Health Services spokeswoman Sharon Harrington said that the hospital is grateful for support from the community. The hospital welcomes donations for masks, hand sanitizer, cleansing wipes and other germ-fighting material. To arrange to make a donation, call 536-5386.