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Maker impact | Study examines grassroots response of local makers to pandemic

Did you make masks, hand sanitizer or PPE for others at the start of the pandemic? A team of university researchers wants to hear from you.

TENNESSEE, USA — Researchers are asking local makers to weigh in on why their response to the start of the pandemic was to help others.

Three sociologists at Mississippi State University and the University of Northern Iowa are looking at the grassroots efforts communities started to help others.

Sociologists Marybeth Stalp, Braden Leap and Kimberly Kelly all noticed how people put aside their differences to make masks and PPE for anyone who needed it, and wanted to see what else they can learn by hearing people's stories.

"We decided that we would try to document this and try to honor the people who had the time and ability to make," said Stalp.

Kelly said they're already noticing trends among gender.

She said women tend to work in groups and focus on sewing, while men tend to work alone and focus on 3D printing or using brew kits to make hand sanitizer.

This team has received several hundred survey responses, and talked to about 70 people on the phone about why they started making masks and PPE.

They're continuing to collect data until the end of the year.

If any local makers want to participate in their study, click here to fill out the survey.