UPPER ARLINGTON, Ohio (WCMH) – While many businesses are adapting to major changes during the COVID-19 pandemic, some are using their skills to fill new needs.

Tremont Tailoring and Alterations closed its shop at Tremont Center several weeks ago, but owners Nouphone and Harry Chindavong still spend hours in the back room each day assembling fabric face masks.

“You can consider it good (for your) heart to be donating to the community and to a good cause,” explained Harry Chindavong.

Nouphone is the master seamstress, using her years of experience to quickly sew the pleated masks with pockets for N95 filters. 

Harry works full time at Nationwide Children’s Hospital and hopes to donate hundreds of the masks to the hospital to supplement a shortage of personal protective equipment.

The couple has already donated dozens of masks to local nursing homes and doctors offices and are receiving new requests daily.

They enlisted the help of friend Orasa Ken, the owner of Hilliard-based AXO Nails and Skin. The health crisis also forced Ken to shut down her small business and lay-off employees. She and another worker were glad to use their excess time to help with the initiative. 

“Nobody’s making any money, but so what? We just want to do something just to help,” Ken said.

The group hopes to make 500 masks or as many as their supplies allow. Though they’ve received many requests, they’re currently declining offers to sell the masks to individuals and families, instead focusing on the donated masks.

The Chindavongs encourage anyone with time and resources to spare to find a need and try to use their specific talents to fill it.

“Reach out to others to find out how important it is that we fight together in this to defeat the COVID-19,” Harry Chindavong said.