A product from a Hamilton woman’s home-based gift business has become an unexpected hit with many frontline health-care workers having to wear personal protective equipment (PPE) amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Brooke Sass says the demand for her ‘ear savers’ — a respiratory mask accessory — has surpassed her expectations and it’s kept her quite busy during downtime from her regular job working with elementary school students.
“Yeah, it’s been a very overwhelming week. That’s for sure,” Sass told Global News.
Cut from plastic file folders and reinforced with a heat press, the savers protect a mask wearer’s ears from potential sores and blisters by taking on the weight of the elastic band attached to the PPE device.
Sass says the idea came about in an effort to help a cousin working at McMaster hospital required to wear a protective mask.
“I had kind of just thought, what can I do to help out now that I’m not working,” said Sass.
“And we’re kind of all in this together, so I asked her if that would be something that the hospital would be open to?”
Sass said she did look at savers made with crochet as well as others made of ribbon and buttons, but preferred to put something together that could be cleaned with ease.
“I kind of tried to figure out another way that it could be done, that could be sanitized and reused.”
After ultimately deciding to make them out of plastic at about a cost of 25 cents each, the first run made its way to McMaster via Brooke’s cousin.
“I dropped them off to her and she absolutely loved them and started sharing with her nursing friends. And she had a lot of nursing friends that were interested in various hospitals in Hamilton on just being able to grab some for themselves,” Sass said.
After becoming a big hit, word got out and Sass has been back on the assembly line after $400 in donations and 1,500 requests from hospitals and long-term care homes.
Since Monday, Sass says she’s given away between 750 and 1,000 of the 1,600 savers she’s made to health-care workers, including groups from St. Joseph’s and Hamilton Health Sciences hospitals.
“I’m making them just as fast as they’re being picked up.”
The venture is completely a non-profit one as donations are turned into supplies that are quickly converted into savers.
Any individuals or groups looking for Sass’s ear savers can direct message her @personalizedwithsass through Facebook.
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