Amish Sewing 13,000 Masks For Donation

There are enough positive stories out there right now if you look for them. How about this one:

As health care providers grapple with a severe national shortage of masks and other gear to protect against COVID-19, some Amish residents in Lancaster County are among those firing up sewing machines to help.

Sylvan Stoltzfus and his wife own Bird-in-Hand Fabric, which is serving as a hub for dozens of families in their Amish community sewing about 13,000 fabric masks to donate to Lancaster Health Center after tour guide company LoKal Experiences helped make arrangements.

“Lancaster County in itself is just a very giving place,” Stoltzfus said. “We decided that if we can find people to help us, we would donate fabric and materials for these masks for protection from this virus.”

Image: Phil Lapp/LoKal Experiences

These homemade masks aren’t going to be at the same medical grade as conventional masks, but they could help as a plan B in cases of low supplies:

Once regular surgical masks given to patients run out, the center intends to use these as a better option than asking that patients cover their mouth with tissue — which the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has suggested if necessary.

“Our bottom line is, if we run out of masks for patients, cloth masks still help contain droplets and they serve as a reminder not to touch your face while seeking care,” the center said in an emailed statement, noting it’s working “around the clock” to get appropriate personal protective equipment. It said it has the recommended N95 respirators for staff, but they’re getting low.

So these are not the ideal option, and the Lancaster Online story I linked reports that some health care providers are weighing whether or not to use the handsewn masks.

But in the face of a lack, the people here are pitching in to do the best they can with what’s available, and it looks like at least the Lancaster Health Center is going to make use of them. Good on them.

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    1. Ron Barrett

      Thank you very much.

    2. Susan Abbott

      I am not surprised

      Those who know anything about the Amish knows this is not surprising. The Amish are an incredibly generous people who always help when they can. Thank you.

      1. Tom Gaydos

        Amen to that...

        Thank you.

      2. Beth

        Love the Amish Way of life

        Having grown up as an outsider looking in, the Amish always were the most amazing people I had ever seen or heard of. I was friends with a few of them due to the grandparents farm. They are genuinely the salt of the earth. I would love to buy some masks too from them. How do we do this? They make the best food in the world too.

    3. phyllis w Jost


      In AK volunteers have discovered that filters for indoor outdoor provide en
      sufficient filtration, masks are made with a pocket to hold the filters which can be removed and replaced and the mask washed

      1. There are obviously different quality masks, but I think one of the benefits from wearing any mask is simply to prevent people touching their faces so much.

        1. Donna

          Fabric masks

          UPMC Lititz said it’s “not using or recommending the use of home-sewn masks at this time” but directs those who want to donate goods or services to use the form at
          the World Health Organization and the CDC have reaffirmed in the last few days is that they do not recommend the general public wear masks. Here’s why: On an individual level, there was a study in 2015 looking at medical students — and medical students wearing surgical masks touch their face on average 23 times,” US Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams said.
          Fabric masks can do more harm than good.I understand there’s lots of anxious people and they feel they need to do something. Please just ask the appropriate people what they need and there are also online links showing what donations are accepted

          1. Donna

            Fabric masks

            This is a respiratory virus meaning it can be picked from surfaces and transferred when touching other objects and/or face. These masks may give people a false sense of security. If the Amish are ok with wearing them, just be cautious when touching the masks (especially the inside) and launder in hot wash cycle with cdc approved laundry detergent.
            Best wishes to your face mask wearing

      2. Deborah


        Sorry but I don’t understand what kind of filter you are using. Could you reply with the type so I can make them for the elderly. Thank you

    4. Marci Justiss Blankenship

      Could I somehow get two? My husband and I are seniors and would like to use them when we have to go out for food, etc. my address is 2213 golden willow lane, Richardson , tx 75082.

      Can I get two sent to me? We are seniors and it would help us when we have to go out. Thank you, Marci Blankenship, 2213 golden willow lane, Richardson, rx 75082.
      Actually, if you could send me more than two I have numerous senior neighbors that would greatly appreciate having one for when we need to go to the store. Thank you again for helping. ❤️

      1. Lois Zell

        You can make some very quickly. There are lots of directions available on
        the internet. I am with another group that is trying to meet the needs of
        our local hospital.

      2. Hi Marci this is the contact for Bird-in-Hand Fabric, the Amish business who is organizing this. They would probably be the best ones to check with about that. Remember these are not the highest medical grade masks so if you need something like that, it may be good to seek other sources. Often you need to leave a message on these Amish phone lines though sometimes people will answer. I hope you can find something soon.

        Bird-in-Hand Fabric
        Fabric store
        3137 Old Philadelphia Pike

    5. Can You Help Us?

      To Whom It May Concern: Are your masks available to the public outside of your area?
      If so, what can you spare for our ministry in mid-state NY? What donation amount would you like to get?
      Thank you for your consideration.
      P.S. Are your masks washable?

      1. Best idea would probably be to contact the people organizing this directly. Here is their info:

        Bird-in-Hand Fabric
        Fabric store
        3137 Old Philadelphia Pike

        I’ll repeat what I wrote above: Remember these are not the highest medical grade masks so if you need something like that, it may be good to seek other sources. Often you need to leave a message on these Amish phone lines though sometimes people will answer.

        1. Antonio Sanchez

          Thanks for that information.Help a lot!

    6. Dee Mallett

      How AWESOME! I am sewing a different patterned mask with an Ohio group for Cleveland. 10,000 were requested. This is one of the most humbling venues for people across our states, being able to partake and meet the need of so many nurses and first responders.

      1. Nice to hear that Dee, great that you are helping out with this. I would bet there are more groups doing this as well.

    7. COVID-19 masks

      This is very thoughtful and generous.

    8. Amash woman making mask

      I want to thank the Amish community maybe we all have a lot to learn from this way of life. Simple but effective. I bought my yorkies many years ago from a farm in Pennsylvania ,they are the best well mannered and tempered animals I have ever owned. they are bringing me and my family such joy.
      AMiash are hard working and go to any extreme to help their fellow man .This is a lesson all Americans should learn and take into their own lives. Long Live the Amish

    9. eleanor V best

      Thank you

      Sweet Amish from PA. ! THANK YOU, I visit Bird in Hand every year and absolutely love the variety of fabrics you carry. I am sure everyone will love the much needed masks you are providing. God is good and his people ALWAYS come thru when needed by our country.

    10. Not Surprised

      Leave it to the Amish to come through when help is needed! Helping those in trouble – no matter who they may be – seems to be in their DNA. And, they don’t do good as part of ‘quid pro quo.’ They do good because they, themselves are good!

      1. Pat Monti

        There Are Good and Bad Amish As There Are English

        We’ve lived in an Amish area for several years now. Bottom line-there are good and bad Amish just as there are good and bad English. I can definitely assure you that a stereotype of putting the Amish on a pedestal is inaccurate.

    11. Clem Holyeagle


      Hello please send a couple of your mask my way heres my daddy clem HolyEagle 7
      Wanblee SD

      605 488 0121

      I sure would appreciate it if u can

      1. It’s been a while since this message so hopefully you’ve sorted it out, but if you still need this, you would need to contact them directly. Here is the info from their Facebook post of a few weeks ago:

        “If you are in need of a mask you can visit the drive thru at our store in Bird in Hand and pick one up.

        If you are in need of a large amount of masks you can call 717-823-0952 and place your order.”

    12. Patti Bravard

      Looks like you are already doing it....

      Remembered reading the above article about Amish sewing masks (thank you so much) and then ran across a note from an RN… They need to make sure that whoever is sewing masks realize outside and inside need to be 2 different colors. If they take it off the need to make sure it goes back on same way… and not mistakenly putting outside next to face. It looks like that is being done. Great job and thanks again!

    13. dan moriarty

      Dan or Pat

      How do we order and pay to the Amish for Masks,and what is the avg donation–do we send check?? cc?/


      1. Here is the info from their FB post:

        “If you are in need of a mask you can visit the drive thru at our store in Bird in Hand and pick one up.

        If you are in need of a large amount of masks you can call 717-823-0952 and place your order.”

    14. I am interested in ordering about 30. We are a family of four, two children ages 8 and a 3 year old with special needs. My wife is healthy but I’m an oral cancer survivor and had both radiation and chemotherapy which has compromised my immune system. We are not asking for a handout, we would like to make an appropriate donation. Please let me know if you can honor my request and we will be happy to donate to your cause. God bless

      1. Hi Dean, we are not in charge of the masks, that is the Bird-in-Hand Fabric Store.

        But we had a second post giving an update on how to get a mask:

        It is either through in person pick-up or larger order. Here is the excerpt info from their FB post:

        “If you are in need of a mask you can visit the drive thru at our store in Bird in Hand and pick one up.

        If you are in need of a large amount of masks you can call 717-823-0952 and place your order.”

        I’d go ahead and give them a ring, I hope they can help get some masks to you.

        1. UPDATE

          Dean and others: I checked the Bird in Hand Fabric FB page again. They have some newer information on a recent post. It looks like masks are available on a purchase basis now. Perhaps this reflects that we’re past the peak of the situation.

          Bird-in-Hand Fabric
          April 21 at 2:00 PM ·
          Visit our store during regular store hours and purchase them for $5 a piece. If you are needing a larger amount of masks you can call our store at 717-768-0916 to place your order.
          Notice we are no longer offering our drive thru or hotline services.
          If you ever have any questions feel free to message us or call our store.