The numbers just keep getting larger: Amish community responds to needs of Goshen Health

April 28, 2020

In early April, an Amish man in Middlebury found out that Goshen Health had created kits for the community to sew masks. He showed up to request 150 kits, each containing enough materials for 10 masks. Colleagues at Goshen Health gave him all the kits they had at the time – 75. A few days later, he returned to pick up more kits.

The man’s volunteer network of seamstresses was made up of his wife and women from several churches in his district. His sister cut out material to distribute to families in her church. These efforts resulted in over 4,500 masks being donated to Goshen Health.

Their brother got involved, coordinating sewing efforts through his church which resulted in an additional 550 masks. Others in the Amish community aided in sewing, collecting and delivering masks.

For the Amish, the contributions of the individual are less important than the contributions they achieve together as a community, so they requested their names not be included in this story. But Paul Schlabach, who also involved his church district and his mother’s district in sewing masks, was willing to explain why the need of healthcare workers was something that called the Amish community into action.

“If our goal in life is to see how we can be a blessing to others, it’s kind of hard to do when we’re hunkered down at home,” said Schlabach. “This was an opportunity to give back in a small way to people that are giving back in a big way. After all, are we not all called to be the hands and feet of Jesus?”

Fabric donated by Northwest Interiors supplied enough for approximately 2,000 masks. One of the districts offered to sew an additional 500 to 700 masks from fabric their community members were donating from what they had. When material for 700 polypropylene masks was donated by Nisco and KZ, Inc., the Amish community offered to sew those masks as well!

“We’ve been amazed by the generosity, organization and commitment of the Amish community in using their gifts to help in this crisis,” said Randy Christophel, Goshen Health President and CEO. “We are so fortunate to be the recipients of their compassion and hard work. Thank you so much for helping us all to be safer!”