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Vera Bradley workers make face masks in response to the coronavirus

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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Fort Wayne's NBC) - "Vera Bradley" isn't a name much associated with health care, but with the COVID-19 outbreak putting a strain on suppliers globally, the locally based company is stepping in to help fill a need.

Workers are putting their skills to use producing face masks and "wearables" for doctors, nurses and others who are interacting with patients.

The company's CEO, Robert Wallstrom said during these difficult time is helps to have a little hope.

"I think people are looking for something bright right now I mean everything everybody's fighting through people need to smile and have a little degree of thoughtfulness…which we think is perfect," Wallstrom said.

He said he's spoken with hospitals to understand how to make the masks they need.

"I was working with our sample room and they have worked on the function of these masks so that they're comfortable, they're the perfect size, they've been going through prototypes so they're not just throwing something together they're actually spending a lot of time thinking about it and doing it right," Wallstrom said.

The company itself has been impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak as well. Earlier this month it rescheduled the 2020 Vera Bradley annual outlet sale until 2021. Despite that set back they're happy to help now.

"Whether its our employees, whether its the company or the people in the community I think all of us want to do something. It's so much easier to get through a crisis when you're actually acting…it's so much harder sitting in your house watching it happen," Wallstrom said.

In a message posted to the company Facebook page, Vera Bradley said: "We're so thankful for the many courageous people serving our communities around the world, and we would love to help with this urgent need."

Arielle Cadet

Arielle Cadet joined WPTA in August 2019. The Atlanta, Georgia native graduated from the University of Missouri and serves as Weekend Anchor/MMJ for ABC21. Feel free to connect with her on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, or shoot her an email at

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