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This summer, Pennsylvania Hospital operating room nurses Ellie Tarnoviski and Michael Cavacini were taking a break outside the building at 8th and Spruce Streets when they happened upon retired couple Margaret and Chick Morris, up from Florida to spend their summer at the Jersey Shore. The Morrises, who had an appointment at the hospital that day, had never met the nurses before, but Margaret felt moved to speak to them.
“Margaret said, ‘Thank you for all you do,’ and we said, ‘Aw, you’re welcome,’” recalled Tarnoviski, 62.
The coronavirus was in full swing, and Tarnovski recognized that the blue masks the Morrises were wearing were made from the wrapping fabric usually used to cover sterilized medical instruments in the OR.
“She said, ‘You’re wearing our material. How is that?’” said Margaret Morris. She explained to Tarnovski and Cavacini that she was a seamstress and had been collecting the discarded wrappings from various hospitals and using them to sew things that can help others: face masks for hospital workers, aprons for people doing COVID-19 testing, mats and bags for homeless veterans, nap pads for kindergarteners in need.
Taken by Margaret’s caring nature, Tarnovski asked if Margaret could use more of the wrappers.
“I’ll take anything you can get,” Margaret said. They exchanged phone numbers, and Tarnovski and Cavacini put out the word among their colleagues, who enthusiastically responded by collecting hundreds of the blue wraps, which usually end up in the trash. There were so many wraps that Tarnoviski could barely fit them in her car when she delivered them to the Morrises near Sea Isle City. A second batch soon followed.