“While most of the helping in this crisis is out of our hands, this is one small thing that we can do to feel like we are making a difference.”
When the call went out that many Upper Valley workers were short on masks, Amy Barnes decided to step up. “I hadn’t used a sewing machine for YEARS, but decided to dust it off,” she told me. Using fabric donated by a family member, she got to work.
A new Facebook group, called UV Mask Makers, connected her to fellow volunteers across the valley. Amy says the group, which allows local mask makers to share ideas, lend material and swap machine repair tips, has been amazing. When her shipment of 400 yards of elastic was delayed, another member stepped up to give her enough to keep her going. “It’s incredibly humbling to be part of a group of people who are just doing what they can to help,” she said. “While most of the helping in this crisis is out of our hands, this is one very small thing that we can do to feel like we are making a difference.”
Amy’s efforts, along with those of many more local volunteers, have found an impact. The Facebook group, which had only 50 members when she joined, currently has over 440, and Amy’s in-house operation has already churned out 75 masks. She now plans to drop them off at the Upper Valley Haven, where they will go out to local childcare providers.
Between Amy’s time, help from the UV Mask Makers Facebook group, donations of materials from friends, family, and community members, and distribution by the Haven, the masks’ journey to the childcare providers who will use them has been a true team effort. It even managed to provide a brief distraction for her six-year-old son (pictured), who sewed his very own first mask!