Coronavirus News: FIT alum create Sew4Lives to make masks for medical personnel

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- Thank you: It's two simple words that mean the world to Caroline Berti and Karen Sabag.

They're both alumni of the Fashion Institute of Technology, and like so many others during the coronavirus pandemic, they're making good on the urge to do something to help.

"Karen and I took a costume design class years ago where we had to make paper mache masks," Berti said. "And that's actually how we met."

As COVID-19 quickly spread, the ladies had a thought, an idea that's now morphed into a national movement.

Through their non profit Sew4Lives, they are making free masks for those of the front line of this pandemic -- Berti from her Manhattan apartment and Sabag from her home on Long Island.

"When I walk in with a bag of these masks, felt good," Sabag said. "They send me pictures, and it puts a smile on their faces that someone cares and is doing something for them."

Berti ordered medical grade fabric needed for the masks, and Sabag, a couture wedding gown designer, got creative.

"It just so happens I had received a big order of garment bags a week before, so I was like, I can use my bridal garment bags," she said. "So I started cutting them up."

Team member Lauren Holovka on Staten Island safely dropped off masks at hospitals, while others picked up from the ladies.

"I did one the other day, a small one for NYPD peace officers who needs them for his team," Berti said.

The first week, with a handful of people sewing, they made about 1,500 masks. Now, there are close to 100 people on board from coast to coast..

"It's almost to overwhelming to grasp right now," Berti said. "At this moment, we know what we're doing, but we're on autopilot because we know the need is going to get greater and greater as this develops."

But they're here, committed to making a mask at a time.

"We never though we'd be able to give back in that sort of a way in a million years," Berti said.

For more, check them out on Instagram.


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