Mask Update

Face Mask / Being a Good Neighbor project

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Late February Mask Update

(February 26, 2021)

We have crossed the 6,000 masks mark! Nicole Mathieu and Naomi Richardson were recognized as Unsung Heroes at our UUCS zoom celebration last month, for their incredible work of love, both making over 1,000! Nicole has now made over 2,000 face masks! Just in 2021, our masks have gone to:

  • Mar. 1 (planned): 12 St Patrick’s Day-themed masks for SRMC
  • Feb 25: 48 masks to District 7’s EPIC (Empowering People, now helping 25 families towards independence)
  • Feb 22: Pam Stoll delivered 50 masks to the Divinity Center and 100 masks to Safe Homes
  • Feb. 19: 90 masks delivered to PASOS (each bag has one Hispanic fabric and one other, with bilingual instructions)
  • Feb 10: Mailed 90 adult, and 20 each large and small child sizes, for 130 total to Menominee Indian Tribe, Keshena, Wisconsin. Many were made with Native American-themed fabric.
    (841 Total to Indian Tribes: 164 to Ojibwe, 294 to Menominee in Dec. and Feb, 180 to Navajo Nation in Nov., and 207 to Navajo Nation in June)
  • Jan. 27: 56 masks went to Hope Center for children (22 adult, 14 teen, 10 large children, and 10 small children)
    MLK Day activities: Kathy and Kara Dowling packed over 100 face masks, and we sent 140 face masks to TOTAL Ministries, 15 to Divinity Center, and 18 to Angels’ Charge Ministry at Maranatha Free Church.
  • Jan 2: Delivered to Lupita’s store in Inman, about 40 child and 30 adult masks.

Mask Update

(October 27, 2020)

We’re distributing masks to voters in Spartanburg and Greenville counties, and particularly to the volunteer church bus drivers who are transporting people to the polls, as well as for anyone who boards a bus without a mask. Last week, we gave Ubuntu Institute of Spartanburg 100 masks for their community work, and another 50 to the Mexican store in northern Spartanburg County. We’ll have over 150 masks to give out on election day. After the election, Upstate Food Not Bombs has asked us to help their clients with masks. As we know, covid infections are increasing everywhere that people are not wearing masks. And that includes SC. The latest study supports the hypothesis that covid 19 immunity will last 3-9 months, similar to other coronaviruses.

Although “more research is needed,” we can expect that an effective vaccine for this coronavirus won’t be available to most people until spring or later, and won’t last longer than a year. We plan to keep making masks.

A UUCS sewing team is making and distributing masks to members of our congregation, neighbors in South Converse, community agencies, and anyone who needs them. If you would like to help, have materials you can share, or need a mask, contact Alice Sutton ( Click here for some suggestions for making masks. Interested in starting a mask-making sewing circle? Click here for sewing circle guidance. On your own, or in your sewing circle, contact Alice to let us know how many masks you have made!

MASK NEWS – We’ve made over 3,500!

(September 16, 2020)

In June, we donated over 200 masks to the Navajo Nation, so we rejoice especially in this news of its great progress in controlling Covid 19, from an NPR interview, (and the credit given to mask-wearing):
Our 16 member sewing circle has passed the 3,500 mark in our mask making!

Upcoming giveaway: PASOS event Saturday, Sep. 19th, PASOS event, with voter registration, census help, flu shots, and more in Boiling Springs. We will donate most of the masks we have for that event.

Recent giveaways:

Sep. 5th Mexican store: about 50 adult and youth/children
Sep. 1st and 10th Hope Center for Children: about 40 adult and 30 youth/children
Aug. 19th Mexican store: 40 adult and 24 youth/ children

Why do we keep sewing?

For them—all the people we will never meet, who wear our masks and protect others from illness
For you—all our family and friends who are safer
And for ourselves—sewing can be a meditation and a way for each of us to know that we are contributing, saving lives, from the comfort of our homes.
Would you like to join us? Email for more info.


Face Mask / Being a Good Neighbor project

(August 25, 2020)

On AUGUST 16TH our 16 member sewing circle passed the 3,000 mark in our mask making.

Tula in Mom’s mask

We’ve given away many, many masks in ones and twos, or threes and fours for a family, or ten or twelve for a small group, but here are some of the–

Recent give-aways:

Aug 10 & 12th About 30 for church members and 50 for protesters in Greenville
Aug. 19th Mexican store: 40 adult and 24 youth/ children
Aug. 18th Little Africa (township in northern Sptg county): 50
Aug. 18th Elementary school teachers 20
Aug 21st Three mask-making kits for Cierra Fowler, Deputy Director of Residential/Community Engagement and Special Events for Sptg Housing Authority, who plans to start a sewing group.

Upcoming: We’re sending masks with those door hangers to those ethnic restaurants for their staff. We’ll circle back and see if the Hope Center needs more masks, too.

Many More Masks for Immigrants!

(July 8, 2020)

During June and July, our UUCS sewing circle gave 200 masks to Navajo Nation and about 150 to the Mexican store in northern Spartanburg county, but our sewers weren’t nearly through! This week, we donated 150 cloth masks to PASOS for their efforts to help immigrants throughout Spartanburg County. Barbara Dorsey and I helped PASOS staff pack over a hundred bags with PPE, including the cloth masks, disposable face masks from BMW, along with instructions in Spanish on their use. Barbara and I left at noon, as staff were finishing up the packing. They moved on to distribution, and actually got many bags out that afternoon! One ESL (English as a second language) student phoned to thank the PASOS staff and church especially for the cloth masks. She works cleaning the hospital, and says the cloth masks will save her money!!

Kente Cloth Masks
Kente Cloth Masks

One of our sewers told me how her neighbors, who shrugged off the pandemic, had turned down her offer of masks. Sadly, they are now believers in the pandemic, and she has given them masks—their brother, a physician, just died of covid. Certainly, he would have been using masks, but that is not always enough. Although masks are not foolproof, read here for the latest on how important masks are in protecting us—how important our sewing efforts are!! Link: Email to join our sewers and crocheters or one of our social justice teams. Saving lives feels good—and saving lives from the comfort of your home is a win-win! Now we’re sewing masks to give away at the covid testing event July 13th and 14th at Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church in Spartanburg.

From Alice Sutton, chair, Social Justice Council



(June 18, 2020)

We’re busy sewing, meeting our goals and setting new ones! This month, we’ve donated over 200 masks to Navajo Nation (207)! We also supplied UUCS AA groups with about 30 so each participant can buy a mask if they need one—they’ve got all they need for the time being. Safe Homes has sold about 35 of the masks we donated in one week (about 30 left), and would like some more. Altogether, we’ve given 147 to the Hispanic store that serves many immigrants—the owner is gratefully accepting our masks – and would like more. We’ll be getting more to PASOS families next week, too
Are you wondering what our new total is? Would you believe 1563? I love being part of such a fantastic group of sewers!

How do we keep sewing? Marion Dannert says, “I found that early in March, mask making became a kind of life line for me, a reason to get going each day, a psychological anchor in this uncertain time. Physically cut off from my usual community, church, and neighborhood gatherings and living alone as a widow, making masks became my way of adapting to my new isolation. Creating something of need for others gave me a comfortable sense of purpose, something important to look forward to each day. The possibility that my small efforts might even save a life further encouraged my work. Mask making in this time and place, has been a solitary activity. This solitude allowed and provoked thoughts of the lives of those who need these masks, especially those experiencing great need. As the stitching hummed on, my thoughts moved to imagining other ways of meeting critical needs and of creative opportunities for service.”

Summertime and the mask safety is easy! If it’s a hot sunny day, park your car in the sun with windows closed and leave your mask inside on the dashboard or even the seat. Come back in a few hours and your mask will be safe to wear! That high heat kills the virus!
For right now, we have all the fabric we need (thank you!). If you’d like to join our sewing circle or have questions, or need a mask, write me at ~Alice Sutton, chair, SJ Council



(June 4, 2020)

Summertime and mask safety is easy! If it’s a hot sunny day, park your car in the sun with windows closed and leave your mask inside on the dashboard or even the seat. Come back in a few hours and your mask will be safe to wear! That high heat kills the virus!

On May 19th, we set some big goals to meet for June 1st: We had just donated 40 to the Inman-area Hispanic community and had 50 masks ready to send to the Navajo Nation. We planned to “double-up” for both those communities and make 50 for Safe Homes, all by June 1st –we did even more! We sent 46 more to Navajo Nation, 60 to Safe Homes for their thrift store customers, and 70 to the Inman area Hispanic community! Thank you to everyone who has donated their sheets and unused fabric, and who has purchased fabrics for us—we couldn’t do it without you.

Navaho mask by Alice
Navaho mask by Alice
Navaho mask by Joyce
Navaho mask by Joyce

We’ve now made over 1,300 masks. So, of course, we’ve set new goals: one more box of 50 or more for Navaho Nation, one more box of 50 or more each for Safe Homes and Inman Hispanic Center, and a box of 50 for a new cause (TBA). Our sewing circle has two new members this week, Renu Pariyadath, who says this is her first sewing project in 20 years, and Marion Dannert, who began sewing masks long before she found our group. Why do we keep sewing? I find it is a mindful activity, almost a meditation. Palma Eisner writes, “I found that making masks for specific groups and for my family was a way of feeling that I was helping during this difficult time. Even though it was frustrating at times when I had machine issues, I felt like I was making a difference. It uplifted my spirits. “ Kathy Dowling writes, “Even in isolation this activity helps me feel more a part of a group. And it is a mindful thing to do. Whenever my mind wanders, I make a mistake, so am practicing mindfulness! “

If you’d like to join our sewing circle or donate fabric or have questions, email me at ~Alice Sutton, chair, SJ Council



(May 21, 2020)

May 19th Mask Production! Our team topped the 1000 mark last Saturday and is somewhere over 1075 now! We continue to give masks to our congregation and the numerous people we encounter in the community. In addition, we’re focusing on three groups for the remainder of May: the Hispanic community around Inman (40 masks donated there this week); the Navajo Nation, which is suffering greatly from the pandemic*; and Safe Homes Thrift Store, which will reopen June 1 and require all customers to wear a mask That means they may need to purchase a mask, and Safe Homes wants to charge $3 each and split that with us, so we can buy more fabric! We’re donating 50 masks to the Navajo Nation by the end of this week. Our new goal is to “double-up” for the Inman Hispanic community (40 more) and the Navajo Nation (50 more) and make 50 for Safe Homes, all by June 1st (140 by June 1) and I know we can do it!

BUT Our dedicated sewers need your help! Like the shirt off your back, maybe! Seriously, right now we do have enough T-shirts for filters but need flat 100% cotton, such as a bedsheet that is not worn thin or fabric some people have tucked away from a never-completed project. Please look in your linen cupboard and see if you have fabric to share! Email

Lisa and Zoe with their masks

Lisa and Zoe with their masks  For New Day Masks for New Day by Joyce   

We sew two styles and three sizes. While workers who need to wear a mask for over 8 hours nonstop often prefer masks with soft fabric ties, most people wearing them for shorter periods prefer those with elastic straps to go around the ears. We are so lucky that, generously donated two full boxes of elastic to our sewing circle! Right now, you can’t get elastic for love or money, but we have plenty! Although sewing masks is not the most exciting or demanding sewing we’ve ever done, it is the only sewing we’ve done that saves lives, and that is really motivating! More at


(May 14, 2020)

WE MAKE MASKS BECAUSE YOUR LIFE IS WORTH OUR TIME! We’ve made over 725 masks for family, friends, church members, random people we meet, and particular groups, South Converse Neighborhood Assoc., Piedmont Care, New Day Clubhouse, Eden Terrace staff and residents, Pasos and the wider Mexican and Pakistani immigrant community, Hope Center for Children, and two more youth residences. We’ve mailed masks as far as New Mexico, Montana, and especially, many to New York City! We’ve crocheted headbands, enabling nurses to customize their masks so they don’t rub the skin behind their ears raw.

Kudos to our sixteen mask makers: Kathy Dowling, Palma Eisner, Neval Erturk and her mother, Nigar Erturk, Melissa Fritsche, daughter Marlies, and mom Joan Fritsche, Joyce Harrison, Ash Macnamara, Nicole Mathieu, Virginia McClean, Naomi Richardson, Ruth Stanton, Pam and Fred Stoll, and Alice Sutton; and to the headband team: Nancy Clark, Marilyn Coltrane, Abby Fowler, and Nancy Warner, and last, but not least, our delivery person, Lily Lancaster.

Mariles and her waresNigar Niger ErturkPam Pam at work

Several of us met via zoom to evaluate our achievement and talk about where we want to go from here. The consensus was that we want to continue making masks, and serving the groups we have already helped, which all need additional masks. We’re also open to helping other organizations in Spartanburg County, as well as those people or organizations some of us have a connection with, such as New York City. Some recipients have wanted to pay for their masks, and we are using that money to buy more fabric. We hope some more sewers will join us, and we have fabric and elastic to share. Our next goal is the 1000 mask mark! You can email Alice Sutton at or Joyce Harrison at for more information!