April 07, 2020

Sewing for safety

Stacy Mickelson is a support service worker at Murray Developmental Center in Centralia, a residential facility for individuals with behavioral and medical needs. A member of AFSCME Local 401 for nearly 20 years, Michaelson provides laundry services for hundreds of center residents and staff.

Mickelson also has a special talent. She runs her own sewing shop called Stitching N More. When the COVID-19 crisis hit, the shortage of personal protective equipment like face masks became quickly apparent and Mickelson knew she could help.

“One Saturday morning I woke up and posted on my site that I would do masks for medical staff for a donation,” she said. She’s already made 600 in her shop for local health care providers, the hospital, a group home and for AFSCME members at Centralia Correctional Center.

Mickelson also went to workor her own co-workers at Murray Center, recruiting a few co-workers to help on the project. Together, they have made 550 masks so that every employee has one. And they are already working on a second round to ensure direct care personnel have more than one.

“It’s a scary time,” Mickelson said. “If you have to work 16 hours, you need a mask and you want a back-up.”

After work, she heads to her shop to keep sewing.

“I’ve had people give me material, elastic, money donations—I don’t have a price,” Mickelson said. And she shows no signs of slowing. “I have orders for hundreds more.”

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