Michigan volunteers sewed 40,000 masks during pandemic
Service is a cornerstone in Ruth Kroll's life. When communities everywhere desperately needed protective face masks, Kroll volunteered her time to help.
The Michigan Community Service Commission partnered with Applied Textiles to provide mask sewing kits to residents. The kits included all the supplies needed to make the masks aside from the thread. The kits resulted in around 40,000 masks being made. Kroll herself made nearly 500 masks.
"Service is what I do," said Kroll.
Prior to receiving the mask kits from the Michigan Community Service Commission, Kroll took out her personal stash of sewing supplies to make masks with any supplies she could muster up. Last spring, Kroll began making do-it-yourself masks and ties, as fabric stores had low stock of fabric and many were sold out of elastic.
Even though she began making masks in the spring, Kroll started out with any fabric she could get her hands on.
"I started with the Christmas fabric," she said with a chuckle, as it was mid-spring.
Most of Kroll's masks were donated to the Brecon Village Retirement Community in Saline.
David Dodds helped with the Michigan Mask Sewing Project, making 100 child-sized masks that were donated to Wyandotte and Southgate Head Start programs.
"It felt like my duty to try and contribute somehow," said Dodds.
The Michigan Community Service Commission awarded $45,000 in grants for Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service and Global Youth Service Day engaging 8,000 volunteers. Many organizations chose to participate in the mask making project.
Worship Without Words (WWW), a community-based liturgical praise dance group, played a huge role in making and decorating masks. The majority of their masks were donated to elderly communities.
"We wanted our kids to be able to contribute a bit more than just dance to the community, but at the same time, we had to find something they could be creative with and still have fun," said Taliah Taylor of WWW. "Everyone needs masks, so it was the perfect task."
A small group of young girls from the organization were taught how to sew the masks, then they added rhinestones, doodles, and fun googly eyes to them.
Theresa Randleman recalls the senior citizens laughing at the silly faces the girls designed the masks with. The whole process for WWW was equally rewarding and fun.
"The kids enjoy adding their own flare and personality to the masks, and still were able to give back to our community," she said. "To give most of the masks to elders was the ultimate reward."