The year 2020 did not really go towards anyone’s plan. Once the pandemic hit a lot of people’s lives were changed. On March 30th, Maryland was placed under a stay at home order and residents were only allowed to leave for essential activities. Shortly after on April 18th, all Maryland residents are required to use face coverings in public transition or any indoor retail and foodservice establishments. Masks during this time are very scarce due to the overwhelming demand from medical services and cloth masks were being sold at ridiculously high prices or would not reach the recipient until May. Masks were not being provided from the state of Maryland however there are still people who need to use public transportation for essential trips. There are also people who still work for essential businesses. To help, I decided to make masks for people who need them.
I sent out a google form for people to fill out asking how many masks they need and their addresses. I started first by asking my fellow classmates and anyone they knew and then reached out to my family and friends. After receiving a submission, I would sew how many masks the person needed along with instructions on how to take care of the mask and how to wash it. I would then go to the post office within a couple of days to send the masks out. In total, I made and distributed 35 masks. Once there was a week with no submissions, I shut the form down.
The form was a great tool to keep me organized with all of the information. At first, I tried to hand sew the masks but found that it took a lot longer than I anticipated and switched to using a sewing machine. If I ever do this again in the future, I would make a bunch of masks beforehand rather than making to order. This way I’m not pulling the sewing machine and cutting up materials every time there is a submission and instead work an entire day on them.
This project helped me realize that even though I’m not a medical professional, I can still help others during this pandemic. Making masks out of material I already had to help keep someone safe. There are ways that one can practice activism and be a support, even when we can’t physically meet anymore. Practicing activism during this pandemic has inspired me to find other ways to help and support people as we all get through this time together.