While many Starbucks (SBUX 1.67%) locations remain open to serve customers via delivery and drive-through, stores that lack those options have closed. The location managed by Heather Staples, which sits about a mile down the road from a hospital in Beverly, Massachusetts, where her wife, brother, and sister-in-law work, remains open for drive-through, but she has put the unused dining room to good use.

She heard from her brother that he was being advised to wear a bandana to work because there were not enough masks for the people who needed them.

"It's a horrible position for medical workers to be in, and a horrible situation we're in right now with the virus," she said in a story published on Starbucks' website. "I felt really helpless. I think a lot of us feel really helpless right now. So, I just thought, 'What's one thing that I could do right now that might make a difference?'"

Heather Staples sews masks inside a Starbucks.

Starbucks Manager Heather Staples sews a mask. Image source: Starbucks.

Making a difference

Staples decided she would use her shuttered store to sew face masks, which the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends when medical-grade masks are not available. She downloaded a pattern from the internet, brought her sewing machine to the store and, when she's not working, she goes to work making masks.

"We wanted to do everything we could to stay open because we are right next to the hospital, and we have tons of first responders and hospital staff that come through the drive-through all the time," Staples said. "[M]orale is really high. We're really excited to be here for the community."

Pitching in

Staples is not alone in her work. Many of the employees in her store are also pitching in, as has the community.

"Before shifts, after shifts, on breaks -- we're just trying to get as many masks out as we possibly can," Staples said.