Want to make you own at home? The quilters have some tips for you.
This is what quilters do.
It's a sentiment shared by several members of the Racing Fingers Quilt Guild of Ormond Beach, who in the last three weeks have collectively made and donated over 1,100 face masks. The masks have been sent to hospitals, assisted living facilities, nursing homes, and doctors' offices. They have also been sent to neighbors and friends from both Ormond Beach and other cities.
Guild member Cynthia Rose, who is also the president of Halifax Health - Auxiliary, said making masks gives her a sense of purpose. Knowing there are mask shortages in the U.S., she said she felt something had to be done. It went beyond helping the hospital for her — her mother live in a memory care facility, and Rose wanted their staff to have masks too.
She's made about 235 so far.
“I always believe in giving back and I just felt this was one of my small ways to step up to fight this battle," Rose said.
Fellow guild member Claire Sadowniczak said making masks for the community was not a decision made by the guild — it was an individual decision many of them made.
Sadowniczak is no stranger to masks either. She has a rare blood disorder that impacts her immune system, so she's been wearing paper masks for years. When the need arose in the community, she contacted her priest to ask whether she could make masks for him and church staff. It has expanded since then — Sadowniczak has made 241 masks — and she is now making masks for health care professionals and EMT units.
“It’s absolutely wonderful," Sadowniczak said. "I’m more up than I’ve been in years.”
Guild President Linda Derryberry said Racing Fingers currently has a membership of just under 80 people. Of that number, she knows of 11 that have confirmed they are making masks for the community, though she suspects the number is much greater.
Quilters love their craft, she said, adding that some of them call it a disease as they fall deeper in love with fabrics and creating. But above all, she said they love helping.
“Quilters historically have always just kind of pitched in and tried to help," Derryberry said. "It doesn’t surprise me."
Before COVID-19, the Guild donated quilts to Project Warm, Remembering Vets, and the Pregnancy Crisis Center of Daytona Beach and Family Renew. Once, the ladies also collaborated to make about 60 neck scarfs for servicemen overseas, she said.
"When you can use something that you love to help other people, there’s just no better way to do it," Derryberry said.
Quilters are an interesting bunch, said recent Guild member Kathy Cray, whose 150 masks have been sent to nine different U.S. states. Rather than donate a small sum of money to an organization, they would rather donate a large quilt worth much more in time and material costs.
“We’ve always had that kind of a heart," Cray said. "I’ve been stitching for 30 years and my best friends are quilters and their generosity is incredible. We get the call and we step up.”
Some of the masks she has made have been sent to Meals on Wheels in Massachusetts, a an assisted living facility in St. Augustine and a hospital in Jacksonville. Cray even gave masks to the postal workers working inside her post office.
Making masks is a way to help ensure people have some protection from getting COVID-19, as well as prevent its spread, said Guild member Loraine White. She's made over 250 masks, and thanks to having a "house full of fabric," White isn't stopping anytime soon.
“It’s a lot easier than making a quilt,” White said while laughing. “And everybody has really come together in our group and donated pipe cleaners and elastics and anything that anybody needs.”
Rose said she never thought she would be making masks. She hopes the pandemic has instilled a giving spirit in the community, one that she hopes will still be there once this is all over, and inspire people to be kinder.
“I think we’ve seen that everyone is at risk and there’s such a great need," Rose said. "So many more people are stepping up and using their talents in ways that I don’t think they would have ever thought to do before.”