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One mask at a time

Helping out during the coronavirus outbreak
Posted at 3:08 PM, Mar 31, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-31 18:17:22-04

BALTIMORE — Starched and pressed clothing, draped in plastic, awaits customers in no hurry to pick it up.

As business plummeted by as much as 90 percent at Federal Hill Cleaners, Co-Owner Soo Jeong turned to a labor of love.

“I can make about 20 masks per day,” said Jeong, who perfected her pattern weeks before covid-19 grabbed hold in the United States when it spread to her native country of South Korea. “First, I made the masks for my family in Korea. Korea was worse at first, but now it’s getting better. Now, it’s kind of stabilized, but now the U.S. is not good.”

When Jeong went in search of protective masks here, she came up empty.

“I couldn’t find (them)," Jeong recalled. "That’s why I started to make my own masks, and then I heard about many doctors and nurses. They do not have masks during their work.”

Even though her effort has only produced a little over 100 of the masks thus far, people working out on the front lines of the health field have been thankful for whatever they can get.

“It’s good. People love that and they gave many compliments to us," said Han Kim, Jeong's husband and co-owner of the business. "and some people want to donate cash and fabric. We don’t accept cash, but we take many fabrics so we’re okay.”

It is a selfless gift at a time when normal business is anything, but that.