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Lowcountry Strong: Mt. Pleasant woman making ‘comfort clips’ for healthcare workers

Updated: Apr. 6, 2020 at 6:43 AM EDT
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MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCSC) - People around the country and world are getting creative to help our healthcare heroes. While some are making masks or hospital gowns, a small business owner in Mount Pleasant realized she could use her talents in a different way.

“About three weeks ago I had to close my doors to the public," Erika McKelvey said. She owns Erika Lynn Studio and Boutique off Longpoint Road and opened her store one year ago.

“It was a huge shock,” she said. McKelvey has an open studio at the store where she makes leather handbags and has dreamed of opening her own store for years.

“God gave me a servant’s heart and I need to do something to help, but nurses and doctors don’t need handbags right now so what can I do?” she said. One day she was on Facebook and saw nurses talking about how elastic on masks rubs their ears.

“Some nurses were wearing paper clips, but they were getting stuck in their hair. And I said, ‘Wait I can make something!’” McKelvey said.

She designed a clip nurses and doctors can use to hook the elastic to the back of their heads. Some people call them “s-clips” while others call them “comfort clips.”

“These [masks] are stretching and pulling and it’s constant, just constant on your ears," emergency room technician at Summerville Medical Center Melissa Newby said. “It does cause irritation and when your shifts are a minimum of 12 hours, it hurts.”

McKelvey posted about the clips on Instagram and Facebook and has gotten about 2,800 requests in less than a week. Newby and other healthcare workers at Summerville Medical Center were some of the first to get them.

“I thought I was going to get 30 to 50 requests!” McKelvey said. After they kept pouring in, she reached out to Polymer Shapes, a company she buys acrylic from, to see if they could help. The company donated enough acrylic to make 2,000 clips.

“We’re incredibly grateful for them,” Newby said. “Those little things do matter.”

McKelvey has made about 1,800 so far for hospitals around the Lowcountry and hospitals in New York, California and Missouri.

“I’m overwhelmed,” she said. “But in a good way.”

If you are interested in getting a clip or donating to help McKelvey make them, you can find her store on Instagram and Facebook.

If you know someone or a group of people making the Lowcountry a better place during this time, you can tell us about it by filling out this form. You can also email Abbey O’Brien at aobrien@live5news.com and you might see them recognized on Live5News.

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