Yasmin Mangila Ponce, a 47-year-old entrepreneur and a mother, found her little way to give back to the sacrifices of front-liners battling the coronavirus by knitting “ear savers”.

“You don’t need to spend a lot just to help in these trying times,” she said in an interview, after knitting hundreds of ear savers and gave them for free to those working on the front line. “We can start helping with whatever we have.”

Top Photo: HELPING HAND. Yasmin Mangila Ponce, along with her husband Lemuel (left), her son Leon and daughter Mita. Yasmin says her family helped her make more ear savers to donate to the Covid-19 front-liners. (PNA contributed photo)

She started creating crochet ear-saver bands on April 11 after the National Capital Region (NCR) was placed under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).

She said she was inspired by her friends who made ear savers using ribbon strips, which they posted on social media.

“I saw a co-parent from Holy Spirit School. Her name is Maire Quianzon, she makes ear savers using ribbon strips, while Mithi Laya Gonzales-Suarez was knitting ear savers for her family,” Yasmin shared, adding that from that moment, she got an idea to crochet ear savers on her own.

She did not have a second thought of making ear-saver bands when she learned that some front-liners were getting sore ears from constantly wearing face masks.

“As I was informed, some ears of medical health professionals are scarring due to the friction caused by prolonged use of face masks,” she said.

She said many front-liners are currently wearing face masks tucked behind their ears for long hours, which make their ear sore.

The crochet ear-saver bands, she said, are meant to keep the face mask’s elasticity from rubbing the ears.

The crochet ear savers are a little strap with two buttons serving as hooks, where one can hook the face mask on to the strap so it takes the pressure off of the ears and avoids rubbing the skin.

“It lessens the tension in the ears of the front-liners from prolonged wearing of face masks,” she added.

Yasmin said providing ear savers to the front-liners makes her happy.

Yung kahit maliit na bagay nakakabigay ng ginhawa sa kanila (even these little things provide relief for them). Especially when people you really don’t know, those friends of my acquaintances, are expressing their gratefulness and telling me that hindi na nasasaktan mga tenga nila (their ears are not getting sore anymore). Sometimes I get teary-eyed,” she said.

“It was my way of helping them out. Knowing the discomfort they get from the pain of the ear bands of the face masks,” she added.

Yasmin is presently busy making more ear-saver bands as the demands from her are already “overwhelming.

Yasmin said her husband Lemuel, a businessman, and her children Leon, 13, and Mita, 10, eventually helped her make more ear savers.

“I’m doing most of the ear-savers but my husband Lemuel and children Leon and Mita tried their hands too on crocheting ear savers. Once in a while, they make a piece or two to help me with the orders,” she said.

The family has already donated hundreds of ear-saver bands to hospitals, medical doctors, health workers, bank front-liners, and uniformed personnel.

Yasmin said she targets to make more ear-saver bands as long as they are needed by Covid-19 front-liners.

Donations poured

Yasmin recalled that she just started making crocheted ear-saver bands with the leftover yarns from her children’s project.

There were times, she said, that she ran out of materials for crocheting.

Many of her friends in the medical field have started to ask her to make more ear-saver bands for them.

She wanted to provide more for them, but her yarns and buttons were not enough.

But after her friends heard of her inspiring story, various donations of yarns and buttons poured in.

“I started making them out of the yarns I have here. I was able to make like 38 pieces. The problem was I didn’t have enough buttons. But when I posted the first one that I made, my friend Leila Punzalan messaged me and said she had buttons that she was willing to give to me,” Yasmin said, adding that a friend named Rosamarie Capaque-Razon offered her to donate stash of yarns and buttons from her craft store.

She added that friend from abroad also donated cash that she used as payment for delivery fees.

“Peluchi Pascual and Dr. Rosario Cruz-Durian also provided for the yarns and buttons I am using in making the ear-savers. I am grateful to these people who willingly donated for this cause,” she said.

Yasmin noted that without her family and friends who donated yarns and buttons, she wouldn’t be able to make and give out more of ear-saver bands to Covid-19 front-liners.

“Sometimes, when other people get to know what you do, nag-aabot na din sila ng pandagdag, makatulong lang din (they will extend support also, just to help in some ways,” she said.

She thanked the front-liners for risking their lives, especially medical personnel who are taking care of Covid-19 patients.

Mataas ang paghanga ko sa kanila (I have high regards to them), all of them have their own families, but they chose to serve at maaring malagay din sa alanganin, mahirap yun, nakakatakot (and they are also at risk, it’s difficult and scary),” Yasmin said.

Saving front-liners

On the other hand, Yasmin urged the public to save the lives of front-liners by cooperating with government efforts to halt the spread of Covid-19.

“Let’s be a responsible citizen of our country. Malaking tulong na para sa mga namumuno (it would be a great help to our leaders) if we follow the rules, huwag na natin isama mga sarili natin sa mga data na araw araw ina-update ng DOH (let us not include ourselves in the Department of Health’s daily data update on Covid-19),” she said.

“I don’t think they really want to be there doing what they do, just to ensure that the general public is safe and the transmission of infection is contained. Let’s be one in the efforts of healing our nation in this extraordinary time,” Yasmin added.

Yasmin plans to make more free crocheted ear-saver bands in the next few days as her friends continue to donate yarns and buttons. (Lade Jean Kabagani, PNA)