A team of women led by Jayne Ross have been making and sharing face masks all over DeKalb County due to the pandemic and the Centers for Disease Controls recommendation to wear face masks. The team includes Zahida Hrenyk, Carla Potter, Patty Smith, Martha Green, Peggy Bledsoe, and Pam Elsaesser.
Hrenyk, Potter, Bledsoe and Ross are the seamstresses and Green, Smith and Elsaesser cut the fabric and iron. “This is an awesome, precious group of caring, God-loving, ministry minded ladies,” said Ross. “We are so blessed to be able to help others with this mission.”
The group of ladies are not new to charitable activities. They have long been part of care-giving projects to assist others both near and far. Most of the group of ladies know each other from previous humanitarian projects due to worshiping together at Asbury United Methodist Church in Fort Payne.
Ross began to speak to people in the community and realized there was a need by many who work in public. Since the team was new to mask making they turned to Pinterest to watch videos and educate themselves on the types of fabrics needed and the best design. “None of us had ever made masks before,” said Ross. “I feel we had God’s blessing and help in this matter from the start.”
Previous projects included fabric and sewing and so they had a small stockpile of fabric leftover from earlier endeavors. “We started our mask making project with the fabrics we had on hand,” said Ross. “Just two weeks after the word went out to wear masks the stores ran out of the type of fabrics we needed.” When they ran out of fabric from past charitable projects they started combing through their own supply of fabric they had stored away for personal projects like quilts. “The Gathering Place, in conjunction with Children’s Advocacy, has a thrift store downtown and they were helpful in supplying needed fabric,” said Ross.
“Wherever Janie went she found people in need,” said Potter. “We have made masks they have gone to rehabilitation services,banks, police station, several grocery store employees, fast food restaurants, and many, many more.” The ladies also carry the masks in their vehicles so they can offer them when they realize someone is in need.
Ross said they make no profit on their mask making venture and welcome donations of fabric, elastic, and money to further the cause. The masks consist of three layers of tightly woven cloth. They use no synthetic fabrics, only cotton and flannel for their project. Any donated proceeds that are leftover when the mask making project is completed will not go to waste. The ladies make hand sewn items for charity throughout the year.
Anyone desiring to donate towards this cause may contact Jayne Ross at 256-630-1139.
Go to cdc.gov for guidelines about the care of masks, who should wear a mask, and more information on masks. Remember: You wear your mask to protect others and they wear their mask to protect you.
— Marla Ballard’s Who's Who appears in the Times-Journal Wednesday editions.