SGN | Some Good News: Cloth Face Masks Doing 'Double' Good
Each week, our Happiness and Wellness Initiative will share "some good news" from the SPH and our extended community, inspired by SGN: Some Good News with John Krasinski. You can submit your own good news by email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Cyndi Kershaw, an undergraduate teaching assistant program coordinator for the School of Public Health, is making cloth masks to help to stop the spread of COVID-19. Cyndi has made over 100 masks and counting, with delivery spanning across the US from Maryland to California. She is asking everyone to donate funds in lieu of payment to the UMD Student Crisis Fund, which has given over $570,000 to 1,200 students over the past few weeks.
When did you start making masks?
I started making masks on April 2 to help my family and friends meet the new requirements for face coverings. I have been sewing for 35 years and I have a wonderful stockpile of fabrics and notions. My first sewing project was in 4H in 1983 when I made an apron. It still fits! And this year, I was honored to reconnect with 4H by serving on an academic panel for their annual youth summit.
How many masks do you produce?
This is the first time I have mass-produced something like this! My first mask shipment went to Texas with 26 masks. The second went to Tennessee with 6. I also mailed out 40 more to friends in Maryland and to retirees in a CA retirement village where my in-laws are sheltering in place. I am working on a new batch of 30 for my neighborhood. I donated most of the masks and those who offered to pay were asked to donate to the Student Crisis Fund.
Why is this work important to you?
During this time, it is important for me to help in ways that I can. Having a purpose has motivated me to keep sewing! Many of the supplies needed to make masks are not considered essential and online purchases are not shipping until mid-May, so I am working hard to use everything I have on hand. I am available by Zoom to help anyone with a sewing machine learn to make more masks! I will continue making masks for those in need who are unable to locate masks elsewhere.