Finding the Helpers: Cheney woman making face masks a little more comfortable

CHENEY, Wash. — A woman and her family are helping healthcare workers and first responders. They’re doing this by making face masks a little more comfortable using s-hooks.

The elastic attached to the face masks go underneath the ear. When you bring it to the back of your neck, the hook attaches to the elastic. This way, it won’t rub up against the ears.

“There was more of a need for it than I thought there was,” said Katherine Gawenit, who has been making the hooks for about a month.

She was looking through different crafts on Facebook and saw the idea of s-hooks. Gawenit has an acrylic machine and had been making other items.

“I decided, why not?” she said. “So I put it on the software on the computer and it just — I use wifi and there’s a little camera here and it takes a picture of the bed and you kinda just place the image where you want it.”

Her first batch came out pretty good, then she realized the cost.

“$18 a sheet for this material, it just wasn’t something I could do for everybody,” Gawenit explained.

She turned to social media and posted a fundraiser, asking for $500. Within a day, she got all the money she asked for.

“So these sheets I’m getting now are not $18,” Gawenit said. “Thank goodness they’re more around $5 a sheet now so I can make a lot more than I could when I first started.”

Now, she can make 63 hooks per sheet and it only takes 30 minutes. Gawenit isn’t alone though. Her kids are very happy to be involved.

“My kids love it,” she said. “They will come and watch the machine and make sure everything’s OK and they’ll help package up the hooks.”

Those packages have been going across Washington state. She’s even had requests from Chicago and California. With more funds, she’s able to fulfill those requests. All of it is for free.

“Almost every single person that we’ve given these to has sent a message like a thank you card or thank you note,” Gawenit said. “As long as there’s hooks and funds available to do it, I’ll do it.”

You can head to her website and put in a request for s-hooks.

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