Headband Project Aids Monmouth Medical Staff With Mask Discomfort

Josh Bakan

OCEAN TOWNSHIP, NJ — Since the start of the new-coronavirus pandemic, images have become widespread of doctors and nurses with raw, bruised faces because of hours behind personal protective equipment. Thanks to an Ocean Township resident, Monmouth Medical Center staff are getting some relief.

Alix Hayes donated more than 200 homemade stretch to Monmouth Medical Center. Hayes said she "felt helpless sending $20 here and there for meals while sitting in (her) home office." But what started in late March as a one-woman shop has expanded into a team of adult and teenage volunteers helping with sewing.

“I do have a little army right now — adult and college and high school students — who are helping out,” Hayes said.

She believes they have made 500 headbands so far. The largest percentage have gone to MMC. But she also donated to other hospitals — including RWJBarnabas Health sister hospitals RWJUH New Brunswick and Newark Beth Israel Medical Center — and care facilities.

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Hayes has searched local dollar and discount stores, along with online outlets, for inexpensive headbands. She has paid for the headband project, with additional donations from others, including a family friend who is a retired nurse. She has even fashioned what she terms "dude head wraps" out of solid stretch materials for men working in hospitals.

“Everyone loved the headbands with the buttons so the masks don’t hurt your ears,” said Maureen Bowe, MMC's director of critical care. “We love that our community is thinking of all of us — so thoughtful and so generous too.”

Local hospital workers who would like a headband free of charge, with Ocean Township pick-up, can email healinghairbands@gmail.com.

Read more: NJ Coronavirus Updates: Here's What You Need To Know

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This article originally appeared on the Long Branch-Eatontown Patch