Caroline Detention Center

Full time volunteer driver, Gary Austin and correctional officers wear masks made by the Mask Wranglers.

EASTON — The Mask Wranglers of the Eastern Shore are celebrating National Police Officers Week by sponsoring a drive for Lysol Spray and Wipes for Detention Centers in Kent, Queen Anne’s, Talbot and Caroline Counties. “The donation of Lysol from citizens will help in preventing the local detention center from becoming the local Death Rows,” said Mask Wrangler coordinator Teri O'Meara.

Since the beginning of March, over 300 volunteers from Kent, Queen Anne’s, Dorchester, Caroline, and Talbot counties have been producing masks and PPE for police departments, detention centers, health departments, nursing home staff and residents, hospice, social service agencies, home health care agencies, local Departments of Emergency Service, Easton Hospital, the Maryland Food Bank and partner food pantries, and a myriad of other essential agencies and helpers.

Multiple deliveries have been made to the Caroline County Detention Center.

"Detention Centers dine from the crumbs of the PPE table," said O'Meara. “Some detention centers have more supplies than others but all need help. The citizens of Maryland’s Eastern shore must support them until such time as adequate PPE is readily available in sufficient quantity to address the vulnerability of both officers and inmates.”

When the Mask Wranglers became aware that the Caroline County Detention Center Officers were allegedly using dirty paper masks and keeping them in brown paper bags to re-use shift after shift, they immediately began producing PPE and delivering it. Much of it was produced within 24 hours and delivered on Mother’s Day.

The group is also producing isolation gowns. "A volunteer operation of this scale does not happen without massive commitment of citizens," O'Meara said. "Each Isolation Gown requires in excess of four yards of fabric. Citizens across the shore donated sheets and shuttered thrift shops, including Samaritan House in Caroline County and St. Vincent De Paul in Talbot County donated sheets and pillowcases for volunteer sewers to produce Isolation Gowns and Surgical Bonnets."

Mike Weller of Scratch Free Packaging in Easton generously donated the Spun-bond polypropylene material, elastic and medical grade mask frames for the N95 cloth washable masks, shared O'Meara. “This potentially life saving donation has enabled volunteer sewers to complete an entire nursing home with washable cloth N95 masks including dietary and housekeeping staff.”

Weller is also credited with providing the material for sewers to complete masks for every employee of the Salvation Army who will deliver prepared meals to the frail elderly. These employees had been wearing bandanas and paper masks, the supply of which was being quickly depleted, she said.

O'Meara said that as we are looking forward to opening up Maryland, the detention centers will continue to face some dire circumstances. She is asking that the community pick up an extra bottle of Lysol and Lysol wipes, when they find them available, for donation to the detention centers.

The Mask Wranglers have two drivers conducting pick up and deliveries, volunteer Gary Austin, of Easton, drives six days a week picking up PPE produced by our caring and committed volunteer sewers. Elizabeth Tong, also of Easton, takes on the over flow pick-ups and deliveries, locates supplies and seeks needed donations for the group.

Their goal is a modest one — to deliver 40 bottles of spray and 40 cans of wipes to each detention center. “We only need 40 citizens from each county to step up and help,” implored O'Meara. For pick up of your donation call 410-758-3230.

Who are the Mask Wranglers? Home sewers, dress designers, first responders, sail makers, boat interior professionals, detailers, retirees, the frail elderly, 4-H youth, teens and pre teens, essential workers, bridal alteration professionals, quilters, and professional seamstresses, among others. We work on machines including treadles form the late 1800’s, workhorse Japanese machines from the 1950’s to high-speed industrial machines. Citizens who care about saving lives are sewing for neighbors in their own counties and in neighboring counties — getting the job done.

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