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Steps to Heaven is making masks and providing them free of charge.

Steps to Heaven steps up to make free masks

Non profit adjusts its mission during COVID-19 crisis

Steps to Heaven began in Vermilion Parish in 2015 as a way to help families in crisis.
Volunteers with the non-profit organization sew and provide families with NICU day gowns, receiving blankets, crocheted caps as well as infant burial remembrances, such as a pocket blanket set, burial gown set, keepsake pillow and the Holy Land Stone angel.
As a worldwide crisis has now impacted so many, Steps to Heaven has adjusted its response.
Since the onset of COVID-19 (coronavirus) spreading, Steps to Heaven has created and distributed more than 1,000 mask to doctors, nurses and others on the frontline of the pandemic.
“We began sewing fabric masks free of charge three weeks ago,” Steps to Heaven’s Phyllis Berberich said Tuesday morning. “We are giving them to anyone who contacts Steps to Heaven.
“I have lost count because we have been so busy trying to get as many out as we can.”
Anyone in need of a mask can contact the non-profit organization at stepstoheaven102@gmail.com.
Berberich said masks have been delivered to Abbeville General, Abrom Kaplan Memorial, Lafayette General, Iberia Comprehensive Community Health Center and other local medical facilities in the area. Berberich said the Alexandria VA Medical System Hospital in Pineville has even reached out.
“One of our volunteers has a family member in the Navy in San Diego,” Berberich said. “We sent some masks to California yesterday.”
There are around 50 volunteers involved in making the masks.
“Women are sewing at home and distributing to those who need them in their communities,” Berberich said.
Depending on where the masks are needed, volunteers are making proper adjustments.
“We are sewing masks with either two or three layers,” Berberich explained. “Some of the medical facilities have asked for an extra layer to filter. Their staff is coming in contact with the general public, as opposed to being limited to an office.
“We are trying to provide whatever the needs are in our community.”
Steps to Heaven’s current mission doesn’t mean that its original one is being ignored.
“I delivered NICU gowns last week to two hospitals we service,” Berberich said. “We did it so the babies will have the gowns they need for Easter. We also delivered bereavement items.
“We still have some of our seamstresses sewing bereavement items and day gowns.”
There are volunteers who do not sew who are cutting material to help save time, allowing seamstresses to keep up with the demand for masks.
All materials being used are donated. Berberich said support in that regard has always been great.
“Our fabric and all of our supplies have been donated by our supporters,” Berberich said. “Our supporters have been very generous in providing supplies that we need. Some have made monetary donations so that we can go out and purchase what we need.”
Anyone who would like to donate can contact Berberich through email (stepstoheaven102@gmail.com).
In Louisiana, Gov. John Bel Edwards’ Stay-At-Home order has been extended through April 30. There have been signs that social distancing and other measures are helping to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Masks can be a good tool, and Steps to Heaven will continue to help provide those free of charge.
“We are going to do this as long as it is needed,” Berberich said. “This is a new ministry that God is taking us on. Steps to Heaven is a ministry that services families in crisis. That’s how our ministry began. At this time, our whole country is in a crisis.
“That’s why we have shifted our gears to help families impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.”

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