By Amanda Popp

Contributing writer

— Lena Wood of Eaton Rapids wanted to do her part in combating the coronavirus pandemic. Wood found a solution to the nagging irritation of wearing face masks daily. Called “ear savers,” she is producing them for frontline caregivers in the area.

Ear savers provide comfort to those required to wear masks all day by protecting the ears from chafing. A simple piece of acrylic makes masks more comfortable and removes pressure from the ears. They are placed on the back of the head and have loops that the mask can be put through, rather than elastic being placed directly on the ear. They are reusable, easy to wear and can easily be made by printing the pattern on a Cricut machine.

Tiffany Friar, Sparrow Eaton Hospital’s (SEH) chief nursing officer, said the medical staff appreciated Wood’s contribution.

“Ear savers are a unique item that provide immense relief for caregivers who now wear masks during their entire shift,” Friar said. “The elimination of the elastic rub on sensitive skin behind the ear makes it much more comfortable.

“We are thankful for Lena’s insight and how she rallied others to help care for frontline caregivers.”

Wood discovered ear savers through an online Cricut machine group.  That sparked the idea of using her own Cricut machine to help make them for local frontline workers. She tested a few types of materials and found that simple placemats from the Dollar Store worked best for printing.

Wood said she reached out to SEH and asked if they could be useful for the frontline workers. After hearing the hospital’s request for her to make more, she turned to social media to promote the cause.

“I received $586 in donations to cover my initial expenses of $754.06 from my friends and family to help support my vision,” Wood said.

She enlisted two other people to help her make the ear savers — Patricia Lankton from Eaton Rapids and Tammy Good from Potterville. Between the three of them, they were able to make and distribute 7,588 pairs of ear savers to facilities between Lansing, Eaton Rapids and Charlotte.

“I, along with the people who made donations and helped make ear savers, would like to say, ‘thank you’ to all our frontline workers for everything you do,” Wood said. “We are honored to be able to contribute in a small way to our community to help make a difference in your lives.”