Masks made by Manatee County inmates donated to grocery store workers

Inside the grounds of the Manatee County jail, staff and inmates with the Uniform Production Unit have begun making face masks.

Sgt. Amy Boldin and the crew can turn out 100 masks each day.

"Every minute counts when we are building these masks," said Boldin. 

Mask-making is a multi-step process using everyday goods. 

The masks are being made from cotton fabric that's typically used to make sheets for inmates. They also have a filter, made from material used as embroidery backing. Pipe cleaners are used to outline the nose. 

"We figured it would be a great opportunity for them to do something productive and it makes them feel good. It makes all of us feel good, and it’s really something that’s needed," said Manatee County Sheriff Rick Wells. 

The masks are being given to employees at Winn Dixie and Detwiler's Farm Market in Palmetto, as well as deputies and inmates inside the jail. 

"We thought it was necessary to help the grocery stores and the employees who have done so much for us during this pandemic, they have worked hard every single day trying to keep those shelves stocked," said Wells. 

Their work will continue as they work to protect the community and themselves during an uncertain time. 

"We just thought it would be a good time for us to show them that we appreciate what they’re doing, hopefully protect them and since we have that ability let’s take advantage of it and let's get these masks out to people who truly need them," said Wells. 

If you feel sick:

The Florida Department of Health has opened a COVID-19 Call Center at 1-866-779-6121. Agents will answer questions around the clock. Questions may also be emailed to Email responses will be sent during call center hours.

LINK: Florida's COVID-19 website

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