People Behind Sewing and Donating Masks
Our frontline workers are providing essential services to our family, friends and neighbors. With the global pandemic due to COVID-19, these workers and people in our community are wearing masks to protect each other. The people behind the masks are making a difference daily.
In order to help stay protected, local organizations have been requesting masks.
That’s when people from across the Iron Range stepped forward and used their talents to fill a need. And that begins the stories of those behind supplying masks in the community.
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Virginia Business Donates Hundreds of Masks
There have been many wonderful people who have stepped forward and utilized their skills to create masks for those in need.
“When the COVID-19 epidemic creeped into Minnesota, mask making began,” said Sherri Kinkel, owner of Material Girl Fabric and Crafts in Virginia. “They announced a stay-at-home order and my immediate family were deemed essential, so I started making masks for my daughter’s employees.”
After that Kinkel set the goal to donate 300 masks to essential workers and people in the community. She has exceeded that goal and set a new goal of donating 500 masks.
“Protecting essential employees became my top priority,” said Kinkel. “Making masks has certainly helped time pass quickly.”
Working with Sew Good Goods, a Minnesota nonprofit, Kinkel said they were able to distribute 200 packages of fabric, 2.5 yards per package, by mid-April. These were offered to those making masks for healthcare workers. The nonprofit helped cover the cost of the fabric.
Personally, the masks Kinkel has created came from her fabric stash and remnants from Material Girl Fabric & Crafts.
“If making and donating masks will help stop the spread, then it all makes sense to do what we can,” said Kinkel. “Not sure what the outcome will be for small businesses, but for now I’ll use my sewing skills to help others.”
Kinkel extended a huge thank you to those who have all worked together to supply local healthcare with masks made with love.
“The ladies and gent that are working on masks are so unselfish,” she said, adding that the moral support and checking in to keep the spirits up has meant a lot. “Stay safe, wear a mask!”
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Every Little Bit Helps
Lutasha Mott decided to make and donate masks because she has the ability to sew and wanted to assist.
She said every little bit helps.
“I feel that I make a little bit of a difference and it makes people happy,” said Mott. “I hope that it will help the people that need them.”
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Filling a Special Need
Some of the masks that Linda Carpenter of Hibbing has sewed helps those with special needs.
The masks have a clear section so those who have difficulty hearing are able to see the mouths of essential workers. This makes an impact for communicating with patients and residents for healthcare workers.
Carpenter started by donating 25 of these masks to fill a need, and then the mask making grew from there.
“Friends and family needed them,” she said. “I have so much fabric and elastic, so the fun began.
I feel good about donating to those in need and I like to sew.”
One of her sons bought her a sewing machine that she uses to make the variety of masks.
“Friends and family have been donating fabric and elastic so I’m going to keep sewing as Long as I need to,” she said, before asking, “Do you need any masks?”
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Protecting the Ones, We Love
Linda Willard started making masks to help protect the people she works with.
Then, the need grew with her daughter needing them for the people she works with at the bus station.
It moved from protecting family and friends to expanding that to the community. She gave them to the fire department to donate.
“I don’t know if I made an impact, but I see the people I work with at Walmart wearing them and family and friends and it makes my heart smile to know they are safe,” said Willard.
Willard said she is not a skilled sewer.
“I really don’t like to sew and so I tell the person I’m handing it to, that it was made with love not a lot of skill,” she said with a laugh out loud. “But I try my best. I keep getting requests, so I keep going.” She has donated more than 300 masks at no charge.
“All I ask is (for people to) stay safe,” said Willard.
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The Common Thread
The common thread that ties all of those who are sewing and donating masks is their passion for helping others and keeping the community safe.
Written by Melissa Cox, firstname.lastname@example.org