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Gown Gals turn common bedsheets into uncommonly colorful PPE

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    HENDERSONVILLE, NC (WLOS ) — These days, many are linked by a common thread, a calling to help.

“It’s so rewarding,” said Jane Johnson, one of a dozen women at Hendersonville First United Methodist who found a way to support essential workers.

They call themselves the Gown Gals, turning common bed sheets into uncommonly colorful Personal Protective Equipment for local long-term care facility staff.

They’re the News 13 Persons of the Week.

A few months ago, they began collecting bedding and cash donations at church and got to work.

Carolina Village employees sent News 13 pictures of them wearing the gowns.

“Knowing that they have the supplies they need so somebody, whether it’s a visitor, can see a family member, or if it’s staff, so that they’re protected in some manner,” Johnson said.

Carol Watson also leads the effort. She recently picked up 30 gowns made by the nonprofit True Ridge.

“Oh my goodness!” she said, getting her first look at the gowns. “They love having the homemade ones, because they’re so much prettier than the ones you buy!”

The Gown Gals took part of their monetary donations and paid it forward to True Ridge in the form of a $1,000 grant.

“So, these will go to The Laurels, which had a COVID-19 outbreak. They need gowns for any medical personnel who go in,” Watson said.

They’ve contributed 150 gowns so far. Each one takes about two hours to complete.

Alan Willis, of Henderson County Rescue Squad, said the gowns give caregivers an extra layer of protection.

“They wear protection for hand, face and eyes. But the clothing can get contaminated,” Willis said. “One of the big dangers is either cross contamination to other residents through their clothing or in carrying contamination home to their families.”

That urgent need brought the Gown Gals together with a sense of purpose. If you’d like to support them, they’re still collecting sheets in a bin at Hendersonville United Methodist Church.

“Women have said, ‘Gee I’ll help.’ That’s been wonderful,” Johnson said.

“There’s so much that we have no control over in this time,” Watson said. “It’s a way that we can feel like we’re contributing.”

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