The Back Story on Face Masks

Posted 4/24/20

Many of you are aware that a group of UUCSS seamstresses is making masks for anyone in the congregation who requests one.  But there is much more to the mask making story. Three or four weeks ago (how time flies when you are busy) Lucy Manning sent me an e-mail stating that she was sewing masks for Saratoga Hospital at the request of a group of ” friends” who support the hospital; and she wondered if I would send an e-mail to the sewers in our congregation asking if anyone was interested in sewing masks. I put out the call and ten individuals signed up to sew—-Lucy, Arliss Nygard, Carolyn Lansberry, TariLee Sykes, Lale Davidson, Lois Radke, Rosemary Ratcliff, Mary Cobb, Sue Jorgenson and me.  (A few have more recently had to take time off because of work or machine failures). We all dug out pieces of fabric, thread and elastic that we had stashed away. We used up all the elastic then moved to hair scrunchies and t-shirt ear loops. We exchanged patterns. We shared fabric. We used uncoordinated thread with our fabrics as our thread supplies dwindled. The first week we made masks for Saratoga Hospital and over time delivered approximately 150 masks to them. 

Then the idea to make them for the congregation came up after one of the sewers suggested putting masks in a box by the back door of the meeting house for anyone to take. That morphed into our on-line order form; and we filled 34 orders for members. In addition most of us made masks (without getting an order form) for other church members and friends. We estimate that about 80 masks were distributed to our members. People in the broader community discovered our web site and we received requests from non-members for about 20 masks which we filled. We have raised a few hundred dollars in donations from sewing masks for neighbors and friends and relatives. When they asked if they owed us anything we just said the masks were free, but they could make a contribution to the church if they wished. Most did. One big project was to sew masks for Shelters of Saratoga and Code Blue. We made 110 for them. 

Then came an even bigger project. We made 160 adult and 20 child masks for the migrant farm hands, restaurant and hospitality workers. That was very fulfilling for us; and the coordinators, Joan Odess and Fran Weurt, were delighted  as were the migrant workers who had not one mask until ours arrived. Now we are beginning to make masks for the Double H Ranch, a camp which works with seriously ill children. Although there will be no actual camp experiences this spring and summer due to the coronavirus, care packages are being sent to the children involved in the camp and each package will contain a face mask. The earliest care packages are going to Brooklyn and the Bronx. So we keep sewing. The camp needs 800 masks. Fortunately, two other groups are also sewing for the camp. Occasionally each of us needs a day off to recover from hours hunched over the sewing machine and ironing board.  Or we have the urge to go work in our flower gardens and get outside. But we are pleased to be part of an effort to help others.It makes us feel good to be giving and useful in the country’s  efforts to  try to keep people safe as we battle this lethal enemy, the coronavirus.

If any of you want to sew masks or if you have a secret stash of elastic, please let us know.

Bev Lawson