Coronavirus News: Long Island woman creates ceramic angels to honor hero nurses fighting COVID-19

MASSAPEQUA, Long Island (WABC) -- Wednesday kicks off National Nurses Week -- seven days devoted to celebrating true heroes on the frontlines fighting against COVID-19.

But for one woman, since the beginning of April, she's dedicated more than 12 hours a day - and thousands of her own money - creating clay angels honoring the selfless souls in scrubs.

And now her tireless act of kindness have started a national movement trying to put a smile on every nurse's face.

"They're not just doing their jobs. They're giving from their hearts. So I wanted to give from my heart," Catherine Camisa said.

Call it Camisa's ceramic salute to those wearing scrubs.

"I'm so grateful to them that they're going in every day and risking their lives," she said.

Camisa, the owner Mom's Ceramics in Massapequa, felt helpless. Her normally packed pottery studio has been shuttered for weeks.

"And we were thinking how could we do something nice for nurses because they really are the heroes of this entire disaster," she said.

The first angel? Her best friend's daughter, Nicole, a hospital speech pathologist pressed into service treating COVID-19 patients.

"She comes home every day saying, 'It's so sad seeing these people on ventilators,'" said Camisa's best friend, Donna Sgambati.

"So I had these angels and I thought let's make a basket and send it to her," Camisa said.

She dubbed it the "Angel Project." Each day she and Donna pour clay into molds, fire them in a kiln, glaze each one and then bake them again.

Since she only had one mold, they could only produce 10 angels per day. The finished product is dozens wrapped perfectly in a gift basket.

Once pictures were posted on social media, Camisa said they took off.

"Literally, the next day we had 100 people in here picking up angels," Camisa said.

A Michigan company, Clay Magic, donated a bunch of molds. Another company gave glaze. Now they fire up more than 100 angels daily.

"Now, it's become crazy. Huge, huge," Camisa said.

In less than a month, they've fired and shipped more than 2,200 angels to 35 hospitals in 10 states. Nurses from Pennsylvania to Palo Alto, California, have sent Camisa virtual shout-outs.

And just Wednesday morning, Camisa's angels flew out to Mt. Sinai Hospital in Oceanside.

And 50 other ceramics studios across America have taken her cue and started to get fired up, creating their own angels for nurses in their area.

Camisa has spent thousands of her own money sending angels from coast to coast. So she's now soliciting donations.

To donate to the Angel Project, you can go to PayPal: momsceramics@yahoo.com

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