Amish in the Holmes County, Ohio community are contributing to the effort to mass-produce PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) for the fight against coronavirus.

John Miller, president of a Sugarcreek manufacturer, struck upon the idea of tapping Amish production power to make products for medical personnel.

Hannah Troyer of Walnut Creek, Ohio is among the many involved. Photo: Kelsey Hochstetler / Keim

Over the past week, Miller assembled a group of local businesses to contribute, including Keim Lumber and the Dutchman Hospitality Group.

There’s a lot of potential for the project (via ideastream.org):

Some of the sewing is taking place outside of companies and in Amish households. Miller said Amish women in the community have the capacity to make thousands of garments inside their own homes.

“The capacity is sitting there, latent in the community,” he said. “The Amish still sew their own garments. They have a fully equipped sewing machine. That’s just part of the culture.”

He said he spoke with church leaders to spread the word to citizens in the community.

“What we can do is go out in this emergency situation and activate all that,” he said.

He estimates there are at least 5,400 homes in the area with sewing capabilities.

“When I met with the Amish leaders to make sure they were on board with this, they told me that I’m underestimating the capacity,” he said. “There are actually over 10,000 ladies that could be mobilized to support this effort.”

The four products they’ve developed so far include covers to extend the life of N95 masks, protective gowns, and Tyvek boot covers for medics and first responders.

This cover is described as “intended to preserve and extend the life of your N95 Mask.”

These products are not FDA-approved, but Miller says they have already gotten orders from hospitals and other customers in several states.

I’m assuming that means that even though they haven’t gotten the governmental seal of approval, the products have been judged to offer enhanced protection by professionals who would know.

While the mask-sewing effort in Lancaster County is described as charitable, this is more of a business-driven effort — and there’s nothing wrong with that.

This is giving people some work at a time when economic activity is dampened or completely halted – while helping support the needs of medical providers dealing with COVID-19.

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