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Buffalo, NY | Local News, Weather, Traffic, Sports | WGRZ.com

Western New York helpers create masks during N95 shortage

Western New Yorkers are making CDC compliant masks for healthcare professionals.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — We are in some trying times right now, but no matter how hard things get, the one person you can always seem to count on is a good neighbor. 

Here in Western New York there may be a shortage of masks, but definitely not good neighbors. Lindsay Bessey is one of them. 

"I came across a video from a hospital showing people how to make masks and asking for them," Bessey said. 

So she decided to start making a difference. 

Bessey pulled out her sewing machine and all the extra fabric from her basement to make CDC compliant masks. 

"While these are not N95 level protection, I'm a firm believer that any level of protection for yourself and for those around you, is better than zero percent," Bessey said.

She leaves them on her porch so anyone can take one. Bessey then decided to take her skills to Facebook to help others learn how to create the masks. 

But she's not the only good neighbor here in Buffalo trying to help with a mask shortage. So is "Operation Protect Our Protectors," which is helping create masks for healthcare professionals. 

"When I woke up, I saw masks were starting to run out. I started posting on Facebook non-stop and looking for opportunities," said Peter Genovese, one of the creators. 

Genovese and Jeannine Alsous started a GoFundMe just a few days ago to help create the masks. It has raised almost $2,000 so far. 

"I know a lot of people are struggling right now but a few dollars does go a long way," Genovese said. 

They've already placed the first order for 2,000 masks that has none other than some Buffalo Bills pride. They were put together by professional fashion designers including Naomi Smith, Porshia Diaz Rickal and Kayley Oddo.

"What we wanted to do is tap into the culture and the core spirit of Buffalo," Genovese said. 

Whether creating masks is the way you choose to give back during trying times or not, Bessey reminds everyone to find some way to be a helper. 

"Do what you can do to take your mind off of it and something that you know is going to help brighten someone else's day."

If you would like to help out Bessey, you can reach out to her here. 

Operation Protect Our Protectors is also looking for people to help sew and creative, innovative thinkers to help them grow. 

If you'd like to let any of us know at 2 On Your Side about some helpers out there right now, you can send an email to danielle.church@wgrz.com text 2 On Your Side at (716) 849-2200.

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