Faculty Publications

‘This Was Like Some Little House On The Prairie Shit’: The Intensive Care(Work) Of Making PPE During Covid-19

Document Type



carework for the self and others, COVID-19, gendered disaster research, project-based leisure, volunteering

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Journal of Leisure Research


In March 2020 during the first wave of COVID-19 in the United States, the national supply and distribution of personal protective equipment (PPE) was dangerously underwhelming. Skilled volunteer quilters, sewists and 3D printer enthusiasts emerged in a groundswell of life-saving gendered disaster response, creating face masks, ear savers, and face shields. Making PPE was both tiring and comforting, a distraction from, and solution to, the pandemic, revealing the tense overlap between volunteering and project-based leisure opportunities. Qualitative data collected from July 2020 to January 2021 demonstrate PPE makers engaging in carework for the self—turning to a chosen leisure activity to relieve anxiety and provide a needed momentary distraction from the pandemic, and carework for others—constructing and distributing PPE for those in need.


Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminology

Original Publication Date


DOI of published version