Quadel Senior Program and Policy Advisor, Beatriz Barberio, is a helper and a problem solver.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Barberio travelled all over the country to help public housing authorities in need. Detroit, Michigan. Tucson, Arizona. Fort Myers, Florida. Washington, DC. Charlotte, North Carolina.

Although she is staying at home like everyone else, she’s still helping those in need.

After reading an article online of how a group of 3D printer owners created a printing file for facial masks for frontline and essential workers, Barberio discussed the idea of using their own 3D printer with her husband, Ed, to create and ship masks.

It was an easy decision for both.

“My husband is very handy and loves to tinker and collect different types of tools and hardware. A couple of years ago, he bought this 3D printer. We had used it, but not a lot, because there is a learning curve, Barberio said. “I told him, ‘Let’s dust it off and see what we can do here.’ We started to do it, and the first few took a little bit of time. It was a week to 10 days before he could consistently print them and have them be good.”

While the Barberios were figuring out the best method to make the printed masks, Beatriz noticed a call for help from one of her Facebook friends. The woman was requesting assistance to provide masks to her son, a resident at a hospital in Chicago, and his colleagues. The hospital was only providing masks to emergency room personnel because of the lack of PPE supply.

“We were able to send six masks to them so he could have it as well as his colleagues on his team. They are very grateful,” Barberio said. “(The son) is a new dad so there is a baby at home; it was a lot. It was really good.”

From there, the Barberios have continued to make masks for anyone who requests them. Homeless shelter residents and employees in her hometown of Raleigh, North Carolina. Paramedics in Miami. A pregnant nurse in New York City. Nursing home staff members in Puerto Rico.

In all, the husband and wife team has made 30 masks over a 3-week time period. Each mask takes six hours to print. Finding printing material was a challenge at first, but the Barberios stocked their supply so they can continue to make masks for as long as the need is there.

“It feels really good (to help people) in a time where you feel very powerless. At the end of the day, I feel OK. We’ve been able to help a handful of people. At least we were able to do something,” Barberio said. “We were able to reduce the risk and the risk to their families. It makes me feel a little less powerless.”

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