Editor's note: A previous version of this story did not indicate classes would not be offered at the Darrow Road location.
HUDSON — A business headquartered in the city is taking steps to provide essential materials to hospitals as those facilities’ employees provide care to people who are battling COVID-19.
JOANN Stores has opened its classrooms to anyone wishing to help make these essential items. Participating locations are offering sewing machines, materials and guidance through online tutorials to help customers safely make facemasks and covers, gowns and other items to donate to hospitals. JOANN will provide and donate 100% of the supplies that are needed for these projects, according to a news release from the company.
Crafters can pick up the patterns, take them home, create the facemasks and gowns, and return them to the store. All open JOANN locations will serve as collection points for those making items at home, and all items created by customers will be donated to hospitals.
On Sunday, Gov. Mike DeWine issued a Stay at Home Order that was set to begin at 11:59 p.m. Monday. JOANN spokesperson Amanda Hayes said that "distribution and fulfillment centers have been deemed critical infrastructure" under Section 9 of Gov. DeWine’s order.
"Our Hudson Distribution Center is exempt from the Stay at Home order and will remain open and operating at this time, with appropriate social distancing guidelines and adjustments to ensure all are protected and safe," stated Hayes in an email Monday afternoon. "We are a supplier of essential materials; Hospitals and volunteers across the nation are coming to us in droves for supplies to make critical items including face masks, shields, scrubs and gowns … the CDC has recently ruled these home crafted items [are] acceptable crisis response options when other supplies have been exhausted."
Hayes added that JOANN would do "everything we can to keep our stores open and operating."
She noted curbside pickup and Ship to Home is available at JOANN stores.
Anyone interested in making these hospital supplies who needs to find a store near them should visit joann.com/stores. There is a store at 5381 Darrow Road in Hudson. A recording on that store’s phone line on Monday afternoon stated: "We will be providing fabric donations for you to pick up in stores…You can return [the completed items] to any JOANN [store] and take them to your local health care provider. We are currently out of elastic, but we will be providing a pattern to attach strings in the place of the elastic. We thank you for your contribution."
While a class will not be taught in the stores, JOANN on Friday announced that classrooms will be available for volunteer crafters to use, but stores will be adhering to CDC guidelines regarding classroom occupancy. A message left for Hayes asking whether classroom space would still be available (in light of Gov. DeWine’s Stay at Home Order) was not immediately returned on Monday afternoon.
A tutorial on creating the masks and gowns can be found at at joann.com/maketogive.
JOANN employees will continuously sanitize materials and spaces, and the rest of the store.
"The amazing thing about the crafting community is that, especially in difficult times, they are always looking for ways to help," said Wade Miquelon, President & CEO of JOANN. "We are seeing hospital workers, organizations and individuals coming into our stores for supplies to make these essential items, and our customers are asking us how they can help. So many are spending their time and money to help in this tragic situation, and we want to step in to do our part to protect the amazing people who are helping the communities we serve."
JOANN also is working with larger hospitals and medical facilities to secure materials such as fabric, elastic and clear vinyl for hospitals that are in need of supplies. Entities that need supplies should contact firstname.lastname@example.org.