SUGARCREEK, Ohio (WJW) — The critical shortage of personal protective equipment for doctors and nurses motivated the owner of SUPERB Industries and Stitches USA, an American flag manufacturer, to come up with a solution.
The idea: attack the problem by utilizing the talents of the local Amish community.
“Within 20 miles of here, we have 5,400 Amish households. That translates into over 10,000 seamstresses. The question now is, how many of those could we organize to put behind this effort,” said John Miller.
Miller worked with Amish community leaders to organize a series of “frolics,” which is an Amish word for bringing a large group of people together, and in this case to sew protective face masks and surgical gowns.
The Amish sewing teams are being organized like a family tree with each branch consisting of a team leader and 10 seamstresses.
“In the space of 48 hours, they sewed 12,000 masks for the Cleveland Clinic, which we then delivered,” said Miller.
After filling the initial order from the Clinic, the seamstresses are now being asked to produce an additional 140,000 face covers.
John Miller compares the Amish response to the crisis with the community’s tradition of using their collective skills to build a barn in a day.
“Mobilizing the community is something that’s just part of the culture here. ‘I know how to sew I want to help,’” he said.