Crafter in Nebraska volunteers to help Kelsey-Seybold Clinic in Houston

Kelsey-Seybold Clinic is thankful for a woman in Nebraska, who has been busy sending them holiday cheer, to help protect them from germs during the pandemic.

'Tis the season for giving, and crafter Alyce Hinrichs is doing just that and has been for months.

It all started with Lynn Smith-Cronin, who is a nurse at Kelsey-Seybold Clinic in Houston. At the first of the pandemic, she realized she would have to get creative to find masks for hundreds of employees. All of the local groups on social media were overwhelmed with requests.

“I went out and joined a couple of others, and met a couple of really great people, Alyce is number one,” smiles Lynn.

Alyce didn't let the distance slow her down. In fact, she got right to work to help Houston. All types of masks are needed in a healthcare setting, beyond the PPE for healthcare workers.

“What Alyce provided for us are the cloth masks. They went to people sitting at the front desk to checking people in, people working at the pharmacy, and our lab staff and triage nurses, who have to have them to come to work, and our business support,” says Alyce.

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Lynn and Alyce have stayed in touch all this time and she continues to send masks.

“I'm going to try to get some seasonal things down for them, so it kind of brightens it up a little, because it's kind of a scary time,” states Lynn.

Her creations are definitely brightening up lives!

“Actually, when a box comes in, my staff knows what that box is filled with, so they gather in my office to pick out one or two new ones, before I send them out to the rest of the clinic, so they're excited about it,” laughs Lynn.  

It has been challenging at times during the pandemic to pull-off massive mask-making. Alyce is part of a group called the Million Mask Challenge, all doing their part to make a difference.

“She's generously donating her time, but one of the things that happened during all of this, is that millions of people across the U.S. were making masks, so amazingly there were fabric shortages. So, the most difficult one to find was elastic. You have to have the elastics to go on the ears and so we were all scrambling to find elastic,” explains Lynn. Once Lynn found it, she would send it along to Alyce.

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A lot of love and fabric has gone into the more than 6,000 masks Alyce has created.

“Oh, hundreds of yards of fabric and I've gone through over 200 spools of thread, each one having 400 or 500 yards of thread,” describes Alyce.

Too many hours to count and a lot of hard works goes into making them, an unusual means that has led to a lasting friendship.

“It's been a joy to know her and to be able to communicate. So in each box, we send a little note back and forth to each other. So who knew that a pandemic could result in so many new friendships? Good relationships are wonderful to have, no matter how far away they are,” smiles Lynn. “I appreciate all of the warm wishes, and it helps the monotony of the over and over and over again type of thing that this draws on you, so knowing that someone is there, kind of rooting me on and encouraging me. I always send a paper that asks them to take a selfie and send it to me! That just makes a world of difference, because then I know they're really being used.” 

They're definitely being put to good use and making local workers thankful this holiday season.

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