Woman’s Club Sews Masks, Keeps Steel Business Open

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The handywork of the Vernon Township Woman’s Club has helped a local business remain operational during the COVID-19 crisis.

When Governor Murphy mandated that all employees at essential businesses must wear masks, R.S. Phillips Steel in Vernon found itself confronting a unique dilemma. Owners Scott and Neil Phillips had donated their supply of N-95 masks to first responders when the pandemic began, and now without protective gear for their own staff they couldn’t legally remain open. So Scott did what many people do when faced with a problem. He called his mother.

“Scott contacted me on Wednesday night asking if I knew anyone who could make 100 masks for their company by Monday morning when the mandate was to take effect,” said Judy Phillips. Fortunately, she belongs to the Vernon Township Woman’s Club and knows that club members possess exceptional sewing skills. She put out an urgent call and the women, holding true to their philanthropic mission, worked their magic.

Club president Lois Marples, who was already making masks for hospital workers, donated enough fabric to make 100 additional units. Club member Joan Danaher and her sister Eileen offered to measure and cut all the fabric. Vernon resident Liliana Pappas, a friend of the club, volunteered to do all the sewing. Within twelve hours, the club had committed to making enough equipment to keep the company’s doors open. “Twelve hours, that’s pretty amazing!” said Judy Phillips.

At the start of business on Monday morning, the steel workers donned their newly-sewn masks, able to work safely in unprecedented conditions. Scott Phillips was very thankful for the club’s efforts and was impressed by the quick response. “This helped our company to remain open as an essential business,” he said, “because we had donated over 100 N95 masks to local first responders earlier during this pandemic.” He will be making a financial contribution to the Woman’s Club for their kindness and generosity.

The Vernon Township Woman’s Club has been making the world a brighter place, one project at a time, since 1972. To learn more, visit http://www.vtwc.org/ or call 973-764-3185.

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