Published on November 13, 2020
Before the COVID-19 pandemic began, Roberta Snyder came in once a week to work in the sewing room for the Phelps Health Auxiliary and Volunteer Services. She and her fellow Auxiliary members would sew pillows, children’s surgical hats, teddy bears, mice and more.
“I like to help people,” said Snyder, who has been a volunteer for three years at Phelps Health. “It is comforting to know that I can make a difference in the care of patients.”
To protect patients and staff from the threat of COVID-19, Auxiliary members were asked to sew cloth face masks for distribution. Every volunteer who chose to participate in sewing cloth face masks was provided as many sewing kits as they wanted from Phelps Health.
“Everyone jumped right in and took multiple kits,” said Snyder. “I would finish my kits and bring them to the hospital to get new ones. I’ve made over 300 masks since I started.”
Snyder said that she wanted to make cloth face masks because it was something that she was good at that also would help the community. She previously taught sewing for a 4-H club in Pennsylvania before moving to Rolla, MO, with her daughter, son-in-law and their two children.
For Phelps Health, Snyder said she was given instructions on how to sew the cloth face masks. Each mask takes about 10 minutes to make and is two layers, with flannel and cotton.
The flannel is placed on the inside of the mask for an additional layer of protection and finished off with elastic loops for the ears and pleats. While making masks for Phelps Health, Snyder was tasked with sewing 80 cloth face masks for the hospital volunteers and shared about what that experience was like.
“I made 80 masks for the volunteers in one weekend. It was a funny story because on the day I went to drop off the masks, I also had a procedure scheduled. During my procedure, I noticed one of the staff members had a mask that kept falling off. So, I took one of the masks out of my bag and gave her a new one. I wound up only giving 79 masks to the volunteers at Phelps Health, but it was for a good cause.”
Snyder said she feels excited and a sense of pride when she sees patients or staff wearing one of her masks because she knows she is making a difference in keeping the community safe.
“When I see patients and staff wearing masks, it makes me feel safe,” she said. “They are wearing masks not to protect themselves, but to protect me. At Phelps Health, I feel protected.”
Now that Phelps Health has a sufficient supply and stockpile of masks for patient and staff needs, Snyder is back to working one day a week as a volunteer at the hospital.
Looking to Volunteer?
Learn more about the Phelps Health Auxiliary and Volunteer Services by calling Phil Cox at (573) 458-7935 or Crystal Lorah at (573) 458-7947 or click here.