CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A student at Charlotte's Ardrey Kell High School is donating hundreds of homemade ear savers for health care professionals working on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic.
Aastha Arora is a rising junior at Ardrey Kell, and her father is a pulmonologist at Charlotte's Novant Health. Arora said he's her motivation to make a difference.
"Every day he goes to work, he wakes up early, works long hours, and still he manages to put a smile on his face and make us feel happy and safe,” Arora said.
Her father would often tell her how he and his coworkers' ears would get sore from wearing masks all day. So, she took action.
"It hurt me to see all of the pain they were going through in order to help us," Arora said.
Ear savers are stretchable bands that attach to face masks and prevent the elastic from digging into the skin. Since April, Arora has crocheted over 350 of these by hand to send to health care workers working tirelessly during the pandemic.
"When you have a mask, you take a button and put it around the straps, wear your masks normally, and then around you strap it back here so its secure behind."
These ear savers don't cost anything at all and there's been a big response from the community after Arora posted her efforts to a neighborhood app. She said it's been overwhelming to see others offering to help.
Not only has Arora donated ear savers to Novant in Charlotte, health care workers at Atrium Piedmont and Novant Health Centra in Lynchburg, Virginia now have protection they need while wearing masks.
"I also made cards with positive messages for patents and elderly people," Arora said.
So far, she's raised $450 from donations. She said that money will go to organizations like CMS Ballantyne Families In Need, and Hot Meal and Care Packets for Charlotte Homeless.
"It just inspires me to work harder and inspires me to help others because of the way he's also helping so many people during COVID," Arora said. "He's making me want to do even more."