Mask Making

Last Mask Report: TOTAL MASKS MADE: 6,562

Last April, shortly after the pandemic began, several UU members began making masks, and we quickly formed our mask sewing circle. We started making them for our family, friends, and church members, and then expanded to give them away (occasionally, sold them or swapped them for fabric) mostly to groups and organizations that served low income people, especially those most vulnerable to Covid, low income people of color.

Making masks has been a labor of love, an act of defiance against the pandemic, a way of saving lives from the comfort and safety of our homes, a meditation, a soothing distraction from so much tragedy—this work has been many different things to us at different times. We’ve used fabric almost forgotten in our sewing closet, fabric donated from others’ sewing closets, and fabrics bought for the purpose, as well as “extra” sheets from linen closets. We found a fantastic polypropolyne material, bought it in bulk, and used that almost exclusively for filters beginning in June. Eighteen people sewed masks in 2020, and we sent our masks as far away as to Muslims in Canada, Native Americans in Wisconsin and Arizona, and families in California, Oregon, and New York.

While some of us sewed masks, others crocheted the headband pieces with buttons, to convert a behind-the-ears mask to a behind-the-head style. And many people donated money to buy supplies for mask making.

We never envisioned how long we would keep sewing, or how the pandemic would go on and on. We know now that masks will continue to be commonly used for quite a while. But, in early March 2021, when President Biden announced that the federal government is sending 25 million good quality cloth masks to community centers and other organizations serving the low income population, it seemed like the time to stop! Eight mask makers continued sewing in 2021.

We are now working on a patchwork quilt to commemorate this past year and the UUCS efforts to combat the pandemic.
2021 Mask Distribution:

Mar. 26, 2021, 160 total: 100 in neutral fabrics & 60 in feminine fabrics, to Spartanburg Opportunity Center
Mar. 19th 40 adult masks to workers at Union Co. vaccine site
Mar. 18 40 adult masks, masculine fabrics, to EPIC, so total of 125 to them.
Mar. 16th Gave 38 adult and 13 child St Pat’s masks to Hope Center for Children
Mar. 14th Gave away 32 adult and 4 child St Pat’s masks to SJ Quintuple Dip donors
Mar. 11th: 37 more masks, children’s and small adult sizes, to District 7’s EPIC
Mar. 1st St Patrick’s Day masks to staff at Spartanburg Regional Health Center

Nicole Mathieu and Naomi Richardson were recognized as Unsung Heroes at our UUCS zoom celebration, for their incredible work of love, both making over 1,000! Nicole has made over 2,000 face masks!

Feb 25th 48 masks to District 7’s EPIC (Empowering People, now helping 25 families towards independence)
FEB 22ND 50 masks to Divinity Center and 100 masks to Safe Homes
Feb. 19th: 90 masks to PASOS (each bag has one Hispanic fabric and one other, with bilingual instructions). This makes a total of about 630 to PASOS, beginning last spring.