Mask making takes on a life of its own -3000 being put together by volunteers

News 100 yellowBy Connie Price

June 24th, 2020



When the Burlington Gazette envisioned providing some free fabric face masks using donated material, to those in the community who most needed them, it wasn’t imagined that it would evolve into a small manufacturing operation with 20+ people involved.

Mask Heather Sewing

Heather sewing masks with all the parts in front of her.

Jan at sewing machine

Jan Mowbray stitching together the four ties needed for each of the 3000 masks.

The process starts with cutting the bolts of material to mask size, as well as the making of 1000s of ties, which then needed to be transported from Jan’s home in Milton to two Transfer Houses (in east and west Burlington), where the bags of material with 50 masks each are held by Lynda and Nadine, until the Sewers need them.

Design improvements, upgrades and suggestions have been welcomed and implemented from the dedicated volunteer Sewers, Heather, Helen, Sharon, Chris, Tina, Ann, Ruth, Bernie, Rosa & Clair, who are located across Burlington and even into Milton.

Several volunteer Drivers, John, Fred, Cathy & Wayne have the responsibility of transporting the material bags to the Sewers’ front porches and then picking the sewn masks up and returning them to the Transfer Houses, to be packaged, along with Canada’s Guidelines for the Use and Care of Fabric Face Masks, held for 72 hours in quarantine, before a member of the Burlington Lions Club picks them up, delivering them to the Agencies for distribution to those most in need of masks.

mask ties

Tie strings ready to go to the mask assemblers.

Masks at St. Luke's

Rev. Sheila Plant giving a quarantined mask to a food package from the St. Luke’s Food For Life Program

These masks are included in the porch-delivered Food Hampers to anyone in need of extra food by the Burlington Food Bank, with many also supplied for the people receiving the Take Home Dinners at Wellington Square Church on Monday, Wednesdays and Fridays, 12 noon to 4pm.

These meals are cooked and prepared by the many dedicated volunteers from Wellington Square Friday Dinner crew, St. Christopher’s Open Doors and Glad Tidings Church cooks, as well as soups made by the cooking group at Next Door Social Space. Approximately 1000 meals a week are distributed by this very worthwhile endeavor.

Some masks have also been delivered to the tenants at Wellington Terrace Seniors’ Apartments, made available to Donors at St. Matthews Drive-through Drop-off Monday & Wednesday 12 noon-3pm Food Collection Blitzes for the Food Bank and Compassion Society and also to St. Luke’s Church, Food For Life Food Bag, Tuesday distributions.

Masks - Packaging Lynda & Connie

Connie P and Lynda H putting masks in envelopes where they are quarantined for 72 hours and then distributed within the community.

Behind the scenes of the mask making project, there are the very important support workers like Jim, at Burlington Baptist Church, who orders, prints the instruction sheets and Sponsor labels then affixes them to the mask packaging envelopes, Fred and Peggy who warehouse extra material and supplies, Penny overseeing distribution and ideas for upgrading with the Sewers, and Connie who does the overall organizing of where and what stages the masks are in and who needs what, when.

Shawna and daughter

Ward 3 Councillor Shawna Stolte and her daughter model the masks.

To date over 1600 masks have been distributed, with another 1400 in various stages of construction. These are planned to be supplied to other Food For Life locations, tenants at subsidized Seniors’ apartment buildings, as well as new clients at the Food Bank and Take Home Dinner project.

Two of the city’s council members wear and distribute the masks.

Masks Grace Anne Thank You 2

Grace at St. Matthews church where food donations are collected and masks handed out.

Masks are being supplied to other Food For Life locations, tenants at subsidized Seniors’ apartment buildings, as well as new clients at the Food Bank and Take Home Dinner project.

This mask endeavor has shown, without doubt, that there is a village of volunteers in our community, who care about and are willing to step up and help their neighbours keep as safe as possible during this difficult pandemic.

A HUGE Thank You to every one of the volunteers involved in the Gazette Community Face Mask Initiative.

Return to the Front page
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Comments are closed.