A seamstress with her own shop in the basement of her Gaspee Plateau home, Kim Larson knew she wanted to do her part to fulfill the need for face masks for health care providers as hospitals prepare for a surge in COVID-19 patients. Now she is not only helping meet that need but also rallying her family to the cause.
Her husband, Ted, learned of HopeSewSNE, a group formed in mid-March that has grown to 600 members and sewed more than 2,600 masks for Lifespan, Care New England and other health care providers. Kim joined forces with the group and in her first week produced 60 masks. Last week she doubled the output with the help of her parents, Pat and Ray Allen, who live close by.
Making a mask from start to finish would take about a half-hour, she estimates. Staging the work between cutting the patterns from fabric provided by Lifespan and folding and ironing the ties has enabled her to ramp up production. She has her parents working on the ties and her kids, Abigail who is a senior at Pilgrim and Spencer a senior at the University of New Hampshire, make the runs between the two houses. On top of that she’s running a home.
With directives to stay at home, Kim says, “It seems you have more time, but you don’t.”
Both kids are doing distance learning while her husband is working from a room and she’s in her downstairs shop. Everybody has their corner in the house and come together for breaks.
She doesn’t see Spencer going back to UNH this semester. He’s cleaned out his stuff and she’s hopeful he’ll be able to return in the fall to finish up. She’s heard Warwick Superintendent Philip Thornton underscore the importance of high school graduations although she wonders if that will be possible this year.
Like so many, Kim finds this a “weird” and unsettling time. But she has also found a footing in helping others and drawing upon her skills, she’s doing her part.