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Together although apart: community sews 500 masks for first responders

'I've always believed in multiplier effects'

 
Series: Coronavirus | Story 50

Last updated 4/28/2020 at 2:06pm

Courtesy Maddie Jones

Maddie Jones, a freshman at Jackson High School, is one of 60 community members who have made 500 masks for hospital workers, food bank volunteers and staff at local retirement homes.

Although social distancing, the stay-at-home order, and fear of the virus have driven people at least six feet apart, for the time being, it doesn't mean there can't still be community connection.

More than 60 people have made nearly 500 face masks for people who need them such as hospital workers, food bank volunteers, and staff who work in local retirement communities.

"I've always believed in multiplier effects," Mary Kay Voss said. She lives in the Cypress neighborhood in Mill Creek. "I put a post on the Mill Creek Community (Facebook page) one day and by the fourth day, I'd gotten 150 responses who wanted to help. It's fascinating what social media is doing for us."

People all over the country are sewing masks for first responders, and that's true right here in Mill Creek. However, some people reached out to Voss saying they couldn't sew but still wanted to help. Voss said people have offered to help cut fabric, or donate items like cloth and bias tape, in addition to sewing the masks. She set up a makeshift distribution center on her front porch with one pile of masks to be sewn, and one pile of masks that still needed to be cut. It's a socially distant mask-making clearinghouse of sorts.

"It's just amazing the amount of people I'm meeting, not often face-to-face, but in a distribution center on my porch," Voss said.

Volunteers range from 12 years-old (a student from Heatherwood Middle School) to in their golden years.

One volunteer is 15-year-old Maddie Jones, who lives in the Highlands neighborhood. She's been sewing since fourth grade. She's been staying at home like everyone else at Jackson High School and said she wanted to help people who couldn't work from home, like hospital staff and essential workers.

Courtesy Maddie Jones

The group of sewers and non-sewers alike have made 500 masks. Maddie Jones, a freshman at Jackson High School, has made 20 masks already and signed up for more

"I wanted to help out because I'm fortunate enough to not have to worry about this stuff, and I knew there were people who had to be at work in retirement homes and hospitals," Jones said. She's made 20 masks so far and has more to sew. "The hardest part for me is making them even because you have to make these pleats so some of mine aren't very even," she said.

"You feel so much better when you're able to do something because, I think, people feel pretty helpless staying at home. But there's something you can do where what you can do can help save lives," Voss said.

With so many people working together – from the supplies to cutting the masks, to sewing them, to being used in local areas – Voss said she wonders if neighbors are unknowingly working together.

"After we're all able to go out again, I would love to meet and see if any of us know each other."

 

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