The Sewing Warriors is a group of committed volunteers that have donated their time and often their own materials in order to help keep Yarmouth and the surrounding communities safe from Covid. We have sewn masks for 16 months. Unfortunately, I don’t even have an accurate count or list of all of the volunteers. Some volunteers have sewn a few masks and some hundreds of masks. Some sewers left their unmarked packages in the cooler and some wrote their name on the packages. None of us dreamt that we would continue to sew for such a long time.
I continue to be amazed at the level of commitment that this community has shown. I thank you all with the deepest of gratitude. I have recorded the distribution of over 3,000 masks. I just delivered 115 to YCS for the campers and counselors. The next 300 are going to the Root Cellar and a social worker in Norway. Several hundred went to an orphanage in Romania that is supported by a woman in Portland. I can only imagine the lives that were changed with the delivery of over 3,000 free masks.
The Task Force has decided that we can stop sewing and enjoy our families, friends and the fantastic summer weather. We are certainly hoping that it will not be necessary to sew masks again this winter. I know that we can pull together as a group if it becomes necessary.
I will be happy to distribute any masks that you have made. Contact me at 713-385-4708 or on Facebook messenger. Bless you all. Enjoy your summer.
I am overwhelmed with the work that the Yarmouth Sewings Warriors have been able to complete. I was asked to direct the volunteer effort in March 2020. I had no idea what to expect but it didn’t seem like it would be that complicated. My daughter and I thought it would be helpful to the volunteers if we made kits with instructions, a pattern and all of the material need to make 10 masks. If you remember, fabric and ties were in short supply and patterns were in a state of flux. We took a big leap of faith and made 100 kits. Those kits were left in a cooler at Carla Hunt’s house for contactless pickup.
Starting in March and working through December 2020 the Sewing Warriors have delivered 8,655 masks. 6,155 were sewn by the volunteers and 2,500 were a donation from Maine Med. Writing this gives me goosebumps. We had fabric donations from Cuddledown and from so many people who had stashes of beautiful quilting cotton that they generously contributed. Hannaford’s donated the ziplock bags that we needed for the kits. We had volunteers who sewed 1 kit and volunteers who must have sewn well over 500 masks. People who couldn’t sew helped make 100’s of kits. I had volunteers who made stretchy ties and volunteers who cut out the fabric. High school students volunteered to deliver masks and do pickups as needed.
It is truly unbelievable when you try to grasp what has been accomplished. I would like to thank each person individually but I don’t even have everyone’s name. I estimate that we have delivered around 2,500 masks to the students and teachers of all of the Yarmouth schools. The Sewing Warriors are still sewing. I picked up 170 masks in December that are ready for distribution. I still have a list of people waiting and hoping for masks. I can’t thank everyone enough for all of their hard work.
As of June 2020, we have donated over 2,000 masks to protect people in need from COVID-19 in southern Maine. It’s truly something to celebrate. We know how much care goes into making each of these handmade masks. Even if you donated 5 masks or 10 masks, know that your work has been greatly appreciated. To those that have been pumping out hundreds of masks, we are in awe.
Here is a list of communities and organizations that we have donated masks to (or in the process of distributing masks to):
Portland Housing Authority Opportunity Alliance The Rwandan community of Portland The Angolan community of Portland The Congolese community of Portland Gold in Flight (children fighting cancer) Safe Voices (domestic violence emergency shelter) St. Mary’s Health Center, given to their refugee community The Root Cellar Yarmouth Police Department Intermed Yarmouth Milestone Recovery Center Preble Street and Portland homeless shelters Chebeague Island Commons Assisted Living Sedgewood Commons Assisted Living The Moorings Assisted Living Ledgeview Assisted Living Brentwood Manor Spurwink Services, mental health agency Yarmouth Food Pantry Coastal Manor Mercy Urgent Care Hannaford in Yarmouth SequelCare of Maine Bay Square at Yarmouth Hospice of Southern Maine …and dozens more given to individuals and families in need.
We are so proud of this list and all of the hard work of the Sewing Warriors. Know that what you’re doing is making a difference, not only in the physical safety of our community but also because we sending the message that we will take care of one another.
We still have requests for masks coming in, and we expect that this will continue for some time. Going forward we will continue to prioritize giving our masks to people who cannot afford to buy them, who have difficulty accessing resources and to communities of color in Maine, who are being hit hardest by this pandemic.
We hope you are enjoying this beautiful burst of spring! A couple notes about fabric and materials:
Please remember to make your masks with 2 different colors/patterns. This way the wearer will be able to tell inside from outside.
If you are in need of material kits we just did a big re-stock. There are kits in the cooler at Church St.
If you are working from your own supplies and need fabric, we just got a generous donation from Khenmo Drolma, who is a Buddhist nun at Vajra Dakini Nunnery here in Maine. It’s 40 yards of burgundy fabric! Reach out to Mary if you need any.
The Sewing Warriors have hit an amazing milestone. As of today, we have donated 1,000 masks that were sewn by this group. That’s 1,000 people in our community that we have helped to stay safe. Many sewers have made only 10 or 20 masks—everyone’s donation has mattered.
Some special thank you’s are in order. Thank you to my daughter, Greta, who has been helping us make material kits so that everyone has access at home, and to Carla Hunt, who connects us with people in need and helps us keep the big picture in mind.
Fred Rogers said, “In a crisis, look for the helpers. There are always helpers.” Yarmouth is a remarkable community full of helpers. Thank you everyone.
We’re proud to share that to date we have donated over 700 masks. Wow. And we’ve only been operating for a few weeks. Thank you so much for you donations. The facilities that we have donated to are all immensely grateful.
We have a new request today for a few hundred masks for homeless shelters and their staffing in Portland. They are taking new measures to protect those they serve and working out systems for distancing, masks being an important part of the plan. We’ve moved them to the top of the priority list and we’d like to collect as many masks as possible and send off the first shipment. Does anyone have masks ready made at home? Please make a drop off if you do!
Hopefully this website will make information and resources easily accesible for all.
As of April 19th, we have donated 485 masks to organizations in need, including Mercy Urgent Care, Hospice of Southern Maine, Bay Square at Yarmouth, SequelCare, Coastal Manor, Hannaford employees and local asylum seeking families. These masks have been recieved with much appreciation. Thank you everyone.
If anyone knows of an organization in Yarmouth or outside of Yarmouth that is in need of cloth face masks, please direct them to the MASK REQUEST page on this website.