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Businesses, volunteers step up to make masks for healthcare workers

"You have people coming out of the woodwork raising their hand that they want to be part of this effort.”

GASTONIA, N.C. — Nurses in Charlotte have been pleading for help, looking for masks as they head to work at hospitals in the area.

The mask shortage has big companies —some based right in the Charlotte area – and grassroots teams of knitters all teaming up to make masks for the people on the frontline of this pandemic.

RELATED: White House: US construction companies should donate N95 masks to hospitals

It comes after desperate pleas from Charlotte area nurses on social media, looking for help finding masks – even asking people to help sew some.

“For me personally to see that and then having just been through this experience with nurses that were literally saving my life- it just touched me so immediately," Missy Reinhard said. "I was like, I'll help however I can.”

Reinhard just finished chemo treatment for breast cancer and immediately wanted to help the nurses who had just helped her.

“My daughters are home from college and we just got to work," she said. "Right now we have close to 40 masks ready to go.”

There are dozens of people sewing across charlotte helping out, and there’s a nationwide effort as well among the leading textile companies after the White House reached out last week asking them for help.

“There’s such a demand for masks right now — overwhelming," said Kim Glass, head of the national council of textile organizations. "So this is why this supply chain challenged themselves — they weren’t making masks before they were challenged by the white house how quickly can you do this.”

Among the companies helping: Hanes and Fruit of the Loom as well as Gastonia-based Parkdale Mills – one of the biggest yarn makers in the world. All are now supplying the yarn these new masks will be made from.

RELATED: HanesBrands to make millions of face masks amid coronavirus outbreak

“It is a challenge and a significant opportunity when the government is calling on your industry to be part of the solution," Glass said. "You have people coming out of the woodwork raising their hand that they want to be part of this effort.”

The textile industry expects to make and deliver 10 million masks In the next few weeks.

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