Coronavirus: Tennessee grandmother working to supply masks to inmates

Coronavirus: Tennessee grandmother working to supply masks to inmates
Stock photo of a person using a sewing machine. (SDI Productions / iStockphoto / Getty Images Plus)

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A grandmother from Memphis, Tennessee, is on a mission to save lives.

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According to WHBQ-TV, Hattie Jackson took on the challenge to make face masks for those in need.

On average, Jackson said she can make 75 face masks.

“I do them where you can wear them reversible on either side,” Jackson said.

The grandmother was a crossing guard before she was furloughed.

“I’m retired and this was my little last job,” Jackson said. “I really enjoyed being a [crossing guard], and I miss the kids.”

With the extra free time, she’s made it her mission to get face masks to every detainee at the Shelby County Criminal Justice Center.

“I think about what is going on now and what I can do with my God-given talents to help other people,” Jackson said.

Face masks are in high demand, but the supply of personal protective equipment is still lacking.

Jackson said she can’t supply masks for every inmate by herself. She worked with officials to host a drop-off next month.

She hoped to raise enough masks for 1,800 detainees.

“If they sew, [are a] seamstress or a quilt maker, if they would find it in their heart to make a few masks and donate them to 201 Poplar, at least it would help out in that way,” she said.

The Shelby County Sheriff’s Office announced 46 workers and 134 detainees have tested positive for COVID-19, with two employees hospitalized.

As for the Memphis Police Department, 16 employees tested positive for COVID-19 this week.

Jackson said the masks will cover inmates but benefit law enforcement workers.

“I think about them as well as the inmates,” she said. “I need my officers; I need to see them patrolling in my area. I wouldn’t want all of them to get sick.”

The mask drop-off is set for 11 a.m. June 12.

People can drop off masks at the South Precinct on Range Road.