Our world has changed so dramatically, so quickly, that our heads haven't stopped spinning.

One day we're watching the news about a virus in China. Now that virus is in our community. We watched as the people of China were being told to stay home. Now we're told the same. Our restaurants are closed. Our schools are closed. And overnight, TSC is deemed an "essential business," gearing up to make critical PPE for our healthcare workers.

The phones calls and emails keep coming wanting to know if we can help with masks, gowns, hair nets, booties - really anything that our healthcare workers don't have enough to do their jobs safely. We have been on more webinars than ever before, and Zoom meetings are the normal now. We are cleaning, cleaning and cleaning again in order to keep our employees as safe as we can. We are checking temperatures, and have closed our doors to visitors except for deliveries.

We are working with members at the Carolina Textile District, SEAMS, customers, other cut and sew manufacturers, and friends to share information on fabrics, elastics, sewing patterns, etc. Everyone is scrambling trying to connect the dots in order to make PPE products that will protect our healthcare heroes. And PPE was something most of us knew little about until two weeks ago.

But through this chaotic challenge, we have witnessed something beautiful! Everyone is working together for the good of others!

Our employees have begun making cloth masks for our community, volunteering their time to help. Next week we will be sewing these masks everyday so the masks will be put into our community for free. Working with our longtime friend & partner Kim Farmer, founder of Prayer Ponies, we are asking the community to help with funds to help pay for supplies for the masks. You may go to her Facebook page in order to donate. We are also going through materials we have on hand to make any items we can for our healthcare workers.

It gives us hope that together, we are helping in some small way. Before this crisis, I usually would finish emails and other correspondence with either a 'Thank you" or "Sincerely." But that has changed. It's become "Stay safe, stay healthy, stay hopeful and stay helpful" because together, we will get through this!

Lori Trotter