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Portland's Laid Off Theatre Workers Make and Donate Face Masks

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Since the start of the pandemic, the group has made about 2,000 masks.

Stage hands in Portland, who were laid off due to the health crisis, have been making face masks at the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees Local 28's union hall, Willamette Week reports.

Since the start of the pandemic, the group has made about 2,000 masks, which are then donated to everyone from grocery store employees to transit operators, as well as kids organizing Black Lives Matter protests.

"Having something to focus on and doing something that you can feel good about was really important for a lot of us," says Rebecca Lewis, chair of Local 28's Good and Welfare Committee. "We come from an industry where we're used to seeing each other all the time...and a lot of our sense of community is tied up with our jobs."

The team uses a pattern from Deaconess Hospital in Indiana to create the masks. Not only costume workers make up the team; there are also actors, audio engineers, and more.

"Losing the opportunity to collaborate on something with other humans was a really big blow, and I think it's that way for a lot of people," Lewis says. "And so even though we couldn't be in the same place, I think having some outlet where we could sort of socially distance collaborate together was a really big help for a lot of people."

Read more on Willamette Week.

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