I am fortunate for infinite reasons, but one of them is having friends and associates who dig in, get involved and find creative ways to work towards contributing to social causes and working solutions.
One such person is Andrea. Andrea was a week or so into the Cov-19 lockdown when she saw a Facebook group started in Washington state: The Million Mask Challenge. Washington being one of the first impacted by this pandemic, a group of people with sewing machines and other crafty skills had started making and donating masks to the medical and care giver community.
Andrea hadn’t sewed in years but had a machine and thought ‘I can give that a shot’. As she spent the next week of ramping up, she posted how to videos and answered questions. Before long – more and more sewers joined along with her and the Million Mask Challenge was now established as an official group in Central Florida.
Put in their words: Our mission is to create masks and connect people that have masks, supplies, donors/sponsors, and organizations that need masks. This group’s collective mission is to help people learn how to make masks, share patterns and materials, and connect with healthcare professionals and care givers.
It spread very quickly. Donations started coming in. Networking about where and how to get supplies was rapid. Sharing of best practices were welcomed and genuine connections were born between people who now were part of a collective mission at a time when community isolation was required.
Not having a crafty bone in my entire body (honestly, I cannot even draw a straight line) I inquired if the group could use one of the skills I do have – driving. Maybe free up the sewers from having to make deliveries, get supplies from one place to another, be a smiling face that says ‘thank you for what you are doing’ as I hand over a freshly cut bag of mask materials to someone isolated and just wanting to do something to make a difference.
And so began my tour of Metro Orlando. I was again fortunate to have a way to break up the monotony of the day in and day out sameness of quarantine.
North, South, East, West. Areas and neighborhoods I did not even know existed I have picked up newly finished bags of various patterned masks and dropped off every kind of supply needed to make them. While the majority of exchanges are made on front porches and stoops without any human contact – sometimes I have to ring a bell or knock. And that always makes my day – I get to see the person behind the address on my list. And just for a moment we connect with a nod and a quiet thank you.
How fortunate I am indeed.
Learn more at millionmaskchallenge.com or join the local Face Book group by searching for Million Mask Challenge – We NEED YOU!.