Making Masks Local businessman joins mom in making cloth face masks

Written by Chronicle Staff. Posted in Community News & People in the News, Featured

Published on May 06, 2020 with No Comments

Cutline: Pictured is Jim Kristoff, State Farm agent with his mother, Toni Kristoff with a supply of face masks made available.

A Chesterton insurance agent and his mother are doing their part to help in the fight against COVID-19.

For the past several weekends, Jim Kristoff and Toni Kristoff have been making cloth face masks. What started as an effort to help one customer has ballooned into several hundred masks for customers, acquaintances, and relatives.

As Jim Kristoff explained, the effort started when a customer who works in healthcare commented to Toni Kristoff that she did not have any masks for her shift. So Toni Kristoff agreed to make a dozen for the shift, and her son helped.

It’s the little I can do,” Jim Kristoff said. “I’m not a nurse and I can’t put out fires, but this is little I can do.”

From that beginning, Jim Kristoff decided to offer masks to customers and friends, so he placed a notice on Facebook. The Kristoff duo made about four dozen in the first new batch.

In all, the Kristoffs have made about 350 masks for the public, but that does not include masks for relatives. With 14 aunts and uncles, Jim Kristoff comes from a very large family.

As Toni Kristoff explained, “My niece works in a stroke center in Crown Point and she needed masks. Then my sister works for the Post Office and she only had one mask. From there the project snowballed.”

The cloth masks are made of cotton on one side and cotton flannel on the other, with a pouch.

According to WebMD, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone — sick or healthy — wear a cloth face mask in places where it can be hard to stay 6 feet away from others, such as grocery stores. Studies show that people can spread coronavirus even if they don’t have symptoms or before they have symptoms In fact, someone might be the most contagious just before symptoms begin.

How do these cloth masks work? When someone who has COVID-19 coughs, sneezes, or talks, that person sends tiny droplets with the coronavirus into the air. That’s where a mask can help. A face mask covers the mouth and nose. It can block the release of virus-filled droplets into the air when one coughs or sneezes. This helps slow the spread of COVID-19.

This is one way to help people,” said Toni Kristoff, “especially seniors, who are the most in danger.”

The Kristoffs worked on another batch of 48 masks when Nikki Caylor, who owns businesses in Valparaiso and Chesterton, said her mother is a nursing home resident and that facility could use some masks.

The mother-son team does not charge for their masks, but they have received enough in donations to continue making masks. One challenge, Jim Kristoff said, is that while he has been able to purchase material from department stores and fabric shops, many of the businesses that would typically sell material are currently closed due to the coronavirus.

In the meantime, the Kristoffs look to continue making masks.

This is not an opportunity to advertise my business,” Jim Kristoff insists. “I wanted to do it because people needed it.”

To order your mask

The new national guidelines are that everyone wears a mask in public. My office has washable fabric masks available. If you would like to pick one up for yourself, your family members or a health professional, please let me know and I will have them for you while supplies last. We are not charging for these, but if you would like to donate monies for supplies, you are welcome to. Feel free to contact me via facebook at Jim Krostoff State Farm or phone 219-926-7449. Please feel free to share this with people in the area.

My office address is 536 Indian Boundary Rd. Chesterton In. 46304.

Side piece:

CDC advice on cloth face masks

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers the following tips on proper use and care of cloth face coverings.

Cloth face coverings should:

  • fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face
  • be secured with ties or ear loops
  • include multiple layers of fabric
  • allow for breathing without restriction
  • be able to be laundered and machine dried without damage or change to shape

CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (such as grocery stores and pharmacies), especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.

CDC also advises the use of simple cloth face coverings to slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others.  Cloth face coverings fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials at low cost can be used as an additional, voluntary public health measure.

Cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.

The cloth face coverings recommended are not surgical masks or N-95 respirators.  Those are critical supplies that must continue to be reserved for healthcare workers and other medical first responders, as recommended by current CDC guidance.

Cloth face coverings should be routinely washed depending on the frequency of use. A washing machine should suffice in properly washing a face covering.

To safely remove a used cloth face covering, individuals should be careful not to touch their eyes, nose, and mouth when removing their face covering and wash hands immediately after removing.




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