A Community Effort: Making Masks at The Classic Center
The Classic Center was one of many Athens businesses hit hard by COVID-19. Without the ability to hold events, the company was forced to lay off a number of employees. Paul Cramer, President/CEO of The Classic Center, worked quickly to find a way to help his employees as well as the community as a whole. He said, “We wanted to find a way to offer work to our staff while the building was empty. To be able to do that while also helping healthcare workers in Athens was an incredible opportunity.” A few weeks ago, The Classic Center’s Athena Ballroom was transformed into a creation site for hospital face masks. The response has been overwhelmingly positive, and the initiative has grown more than we could have imagined. 500 masks were donated to Middle Flint Behavioral Healthcare Center, with an estimated 1,500 being completed for the Piedmont Athens Regional Medical Center campus. The effort also provided hours for employees of The Classic Center whose positions had been affected by the economic downturn of COVID-19.
Elaine Cook with Piedmont said, “This was such a creative way to keep people employed and engaged. During such a difficult time, it has been so wonderful to see people taking care of each other, and we are so thankful for a community partner like The Classic Center.” An estimated 200 – 250 masks are needed every day at Piedmont Athens Regional Medical Center to protect staff, patients, and visitors, and Elaine said that “it was amazing to see how quickly people pulled together to help. The gift of masks to the healthcare system has meant so much.”
The setup at The Classic Center would not have been possible without the help of the community. Several members of The Classic Center Cultural Foundation Board offered up their personal sewing machines to be used, Lillian Kincey Jones with Young Designers offered her expertise to teach employees how to sew the masks and donated machines, and Katie Stocking, an event planner at the building, kept the operation running smoothly.
Thibaut, a fine furniture and designer fabric company, was the main donator of materials, and Mrs. Ina Claire Cook gave multitudes of fabric from her personal stock. Paul Cramer said, “We are incredibly grateful for the generosity of everyone involved. It’s been wonderful to have so many people donate their time, expertise, and materials.”