Face Masks for Craven 4/26/2020 Update

Weekly update as of 4/26/2020

It’s time to let you know how the week has gone.  After you read our weekly summary, please open the attached .pdf to see some info and pictures about agencies we have served– and volunteers who have helped.

Weekly Progress Report

  • In the month of April, nearly 1600 reusable face masks have been made and delivered across our community to 24 different community agencies in need.  We are continuing to follow up with agencies whose workers go to work every day and serve vulnerable populations.
  • We are continuing to track our volunteers; we think there have now been about 110 volunteers who have helped during April. Wow!
  • The distribution center at New Hope Village has reaaaaally helped us coordinate easily and effectively in our work. This center will be open this week as usual, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, 10:30-12:30 p.m.  Come and see!
  • Our supply chain is pretty stable now, except for that darn elastic.  We are still waiting on more elastic.
  • The need for help from local agencies is beginning to level off. We are beginning to wrap up the “crisis management” portion of this project—we think.
  • It looks like we still have some need for financial help.  (We have incurred expenses on some supplies that are still pending.). We hope to have a more complete financial report soon.  For those who want to support this project financially, you can do so by sending a check to CCDRA, att: United Way, 601 Broad St., NB, 28560, or Neuse Forest Presbyterian Church, att: Sharon DeCamp, 211 Highland Ave., NB 28562.  (Be sure to indicate “Face Masks for Craven” in the memo line.)

What’s Coming Next:

  • We anticipate supplying up to another 500 masks in the coming week.
  • Though we think we are wrapping up the crisis management phase, we anticipate continuing our work at a slower pace during the month of May.
  • Some volunteers are really tired, having worked endlessly for weeks.  We will need some new volunteers to lend a hand over the month of May.

Thanks to all for your wonderful spririt and dedication!  We will appreciate your help in sharing this update with others.


Helen Robinson

Volunteer Spotlight – Face Masks for Craven

FACE MASKS FOR CRAVEN, a project sponsored by CCDRA (Craven Co. Disaster Recovery Alliance) began organizing the first of April with an intention to help protect “community helpers” by providing reusable face masks with a high-quality filter.  After doing an initial needs assessment by phone, CCDRA volunteers decided to focus on workers in community agencies whose continuing service is vital for the wellbeing of the community.

Within less than three weeks, this group had produced and delivered 1000 reusable face masks throughout 20 agencies in Craven County!  This feat has been possible only with the tireless, flexible, good-humored, and collaborative effort of a team of volunteers that now numbers over 100 individuals.

In our ongoing updates, we will be featuring a variety of individuals who have come together to help protect and support our community.

Dan Frey is a valuable member of the Mask Team.  Dan shares that he was “drafted” by a friend at First Presbyterian Church and finds satisfaction in knowing that he is helping defeat the coronavirus in Craven County. Dan says he is amazed at how many new people he has gotten to know over the past three weeks!  Among the volunteers, Dan is well-regarded as a bender, stripper, cutter, driver, and host—a man of many talents!

Rhona Beadle is another versatile volunteer who cuts, irons, sews—and coordinates with a group of neighbors.   Rhona joined the volunteer effort early on; she believes it is essential to protect those in our community who are helping others.  It pleases Rhona to know all of us togetherare making a difference in this difficult time.  Rhona says she is struck by the amazing coordination of resources in this project!

Annick Smart is one of a group of “strippers” in the Greenbrier neighborhood.  These women are the heroes who have helped reduce the biggest bottleneck in production by “prepping” the strips or ties—thus reducing the work of those who sew masks!  After getting involved, Annick quickly enlisted two more friends.  Annick is really surprised by the need in our community for protection.  It means a lot to Annick to help those who put their lives in danger for all of us.

4/14/2020 Update (Face Masks for Craven)


  • During the first week of April, volunteers with CCDRA (Craven Co. Disaster Recovery Alliance) conducted a preliminary needs assessment with over 25 community agencies to evaluate need for community support in providing reusable face masks for their workers. Nineteen agencies voiced a need for help in protecting their workers!
  • CCDRA, in collaboration with Neuse Forest Presbyterian Church, mobilized a group of volunteers to begin production of reusable cloth face masks that contain an approved filtration layer.
  • Between April 8 and today, April 14, nearly 600 reusable cloth face masks have been distributed to nine community agencies!  Agencies receiving face masks include Emergency Management (for volunteer EMT’s and firefighters), Hospice, two assisted living facilities, and numerous in-home health care agencies. 
  • Based on our survey, Face Masks for Craven is working to provide another 1500 face masks to those agencies we have identified as needing our help. 
  • Our group of volunteers has grown from an initial group of fewer than 20 to an amazing group of over 100 individuals!
  • To facilitate coordination, we now have a distribution center open three days a week in the New Hope Village, housed at Neuse Forest Presbyterian Church, 2011 Old Cherry Point Road, New Bern.  Current hours for the distribution center are 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
  • To succeed in serving those workers in key community agencies serving vulnerable populations, we need more help.  Those interested in joining our work by helping cut fabric, sew masks, and other tasks are encouraged to stop by our distribution center or contact CCDRA at (252)571.2976 or ccdraltrg@gmail.com.  For those who wish to donate money to help defray the expense of this project, checks may be mailed to Neuse Forest Presbyterian Church, Att: Sharon DeCamp, 911 Highland Ave., New Bern 28562.
  • Our aim is to deliver at least 500 face masks a week over the coming weeks.  To achieve this goal, we must act quickly.
  • Remember, Compassion can be viral, too!


Face Masks for CRAVEN

Craven County Disaster Recovery Alliance (CCDRA) in collaboration with the Neuse Forest Presbyterian Church has developed a network of volunteers to prepare and sew non-medical face masks with a filter layer that can be laundered and reused. They are being distributed to Emergency Management, home health care agencies, assisted living facilities and group home facilities for the disabled.  Masks are distributed at no cost to the recipient.   

At the current time there have been requests for nearly 2000 masks.  Additional requests are expected.  So far 400 masks have been delivered to six agencies.  The goal is to produce 500 a week.  100 masks have already been delivered to Craven County Emergency Services.

The New Hope Volunteer Village is being used as a reception and distribution center for material, kits and finished masks. Volunteers process and cut fabric to size, assemble kits and distribute to volunteer sewers for assembly.  Completed masks are returned to the Village

The Village is open Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 10:30 am until 12:30 pm. during the week of April 12.  The Village is located behind the Neuse Forest Presbyterian Church at 2011 Old Cherry Point Rd. in James City

Donations to help defray the cost of the materials for the masks may be sent to Neuse Forest Presbyterian Church, 2011 Old Cherry Point Rd., New Bern, NC 28562. Please mark your donation for Face Masks For Craven.

If you want to volunteer or get further information call CCDRA at 252-571-2976 or send an email to ccdra.ltrg@gmail.com

We need donations to help offset the cost of fabric needed for the kits. To donate visit www.cravendra.org and click on DONATE. Be sure to note FACE MASKS FOR CRAVEN!

Fighting Loneliness During the Pandemic

by Helen Robinson, LCSW, PLLC

As the days on social lockdown continue, more of us will begin to experience the impact of social isolation. Loneliness, according to a recent article in the Washington Post, can be as bad or worse for our physical wellbeing than smoking or obesity.  Loneliness is also a challenge to our emotional, mental, and spiritual health.

On one hand, more Americans are interacting through social media.  On the other hand, fewer Americans report having a trusted person with whom they can confide.  With the new rules about social distancing and the abrupt cessation of most of our daily social routines, what can we do?

Social Closening

The antidote to loneliness is social closening.  Here’s a new term to add to our vocabulary!  We can describe social closening as the act of closing gaps between us and others through intentional reaching out to others as persons.  Ironically, now that our routines are disrupted and we are stuck at home, we have more opportunity to pursue new behavior. Now that we are living in a time of social distancing, we can practice social closening in new and creative ways!

Social research suggests that relationships are as good for the immune system as exercise.  We also know that social connectedness has as big an impact on mortality as quitting smoking.  From a mental health perspective, we know that experiencing connection, meaning, and purpose are essential elements of wellbeing.     

So, what can we do while we are practicing safe  “social distancing”? Here is a short checklist of possibilities for you to consider:

  • Make a list of friends and family with whom you haven’t had contact in awhile and reach out.
  • Make a list of those in your neighborhood or church or community organization that you think might enjoy some contact.
  • Make more voice-to-voice phone calls; use face time or skype more often.
  • Spend more quiet prayer time in the good company of your God.  Use a favorite song or words from sacred text to help you.
  • Cook a few extra servings of a nutritious comfort meal, and do some front-porch deliveries to neighbors who aren’t cooking or shopping much.
  • Find a creative way to use your talents.  If you sew, join the ranks of others who are making extra face masks to help.
  • Reach out to the “coordinators” and “connectors” in the community you know; in all likelihood they are keeping up with emerging unmet needs of those in our community and will offer you new ideas for helping.
  • Make a list of those you know who are the helpers–those who are going the extra mile.  Reach out every day to one of these helpers to offer a personal thank-you!

COVID-19 Response Documents and Links

For updated information on COVID-19 please visit the following links:

From The North Carolina Office of EMS – Please follow this link https://www.ncems.org/covid-19-response.php for the latest information on the COVID-19 response.

FROM NC 2-1-1 https://www.nc211.org/coronavirus-covid-19

From the CDChttps://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html

From NC Department of Public Health website at https://epi.dph.ncdhhs.gov/cd/diseases/2019ncov.html .

The North Carolina Division of Public Health has established a call line at 1-866-462-3821 to address general questions about coronavirus from the public. In the event of an emergency, please call 9-1-1.

New Hope Volunteer Village Update

Update on New Hope Village in New Bern

The New Hope Village is nearly completed and ready to receive volunteer teams! The Neuse Forest Presbyterian Church has converted a storm-damaged educational building into a hosting facility for work teams coming from outside the area to spend the night. Over 5000 hours of volunteer time by hundreds of volunteers from near and far have contributed to the success of the conversion. Here are some pictures from our journey to re-purposing the building.
Without the generous support of the churches of New Hope Presbytery, PDA and countless individuals this project could not have been completed.

This new facility NOW starts to host hundreds of volunteers to help rebuild the homes and lives of those who, in many cases, have lost everything in Hurricane Florence. Our opening the Village enables Presbyterians and communities from across the country to come help. If you want to bring a work team, contact the PDA Call Center at (866) 732-6121 or pda.callcenter@pcusa.org .

Thank you all for the many blessings, volunteer hours, prayers and support! 
Grace and peace,
John Robinson

CCDRA Hurricane Florence Update

It’s been almost a year and a half since Hurricane Florence devastated our community. Despite the hard work of countless volunteers, many families are still displaced or living in unrepaired homes.

Craven County Disaster Recovery Alliance and other disaster recovery partners are coordinating to assist as many families as possible in hopes of turning their damaged houses back into homes as soon as possible. Contact us to see how your church, family, friends and neighbors can help families still recovering.