By Emily Morrison
We have a happy update on our blanket and mask donations for the Maplewood family shelter. We were aiming for 35-40 blankets and 100 masks, but ended up with around 200 blankets and over 250 masks! Thank you to everyone who participated!
One of our donors, Janelle Larson, is a student in Echo (Woodland’s ministry for 7th-12th grade), and she made 100 masks for the shelter!
Janelle, a long-time sewing enthusiast, started off making pillowcases and doll dresses with her grandma. In March, when Janelle heard about the mask shortage she got to work. “I had half a spool of elastic from making scrunchies over the summer so I picked up some fabric, watched a video, and went to work. I made as many masks as I could with the amount of elastic I initially had and donated them to a hospital. Funnily enough, I use the sewing machine I grew up using with my grandma so it feels like a full-circle moment.”
By August, Janelle was making a steady stream of masks and decided to launch her own business, “Janelle’s Maskerpieces.” Many of her masks are fun or silly: Baby Yoda, Christmas trees, and math equations, for example.
For every mask Janelle sells, she donates another one. In 9 months, Janelle has made around 800 masks, donating a little over 400 of them, including to Woodland’s recent mask drive!
Janelle’s advice to other aspiring mask makers is that practice makes perfect. “I still have the first mask I ever attempted to make which took me around an hour … and it’s a hot mess but now I can make one in around 7 minutes. It takes a lot of work and practice but it’s so worth it, in the end, knowing you are helping make a difference in a crazy world.”
This isn’t the first time we’ve put out a call for help and so many of you have pitched in, whether you got out your sewing machine or made an extra trip to the store. We see these acts as salt and light to the world, and are so thankful for each one of you and for all the cozy, comfy and fun masks and blankets we were able to drop off at the shelter!