Sisters make masks for community

Bruce+Sheppard+reminisces+with+Michelle+Luttrell+at+a+retirement+luncheon+held+during+a+teacher+workday.+Members+of+the+faculty+stopped+by+to+congratulate+Sheppard.+Photo+by+Valerie+Egger.

Bruce Sheppard reminisces with Michelle Luttrell at a retirement luncheon held during a teacher workday. Members of the faculty stopped by to congratulate Sheppard. Photo by Valerie Egger.

| Business Manager

two masks
Sisters Claire and Elena Wigglesworth have made upwards of 300 masks for their local community since the pandemic started.

Long lines at the grocery store. A limited number of customers allowed in stores. Major shortages of everyday items such as toilet paper and hand soap. The COVID-19 outbreak has made it increasingly difficult to access the basic items needed for everyday life.

With the sudden demand for essential items such as face masks, they have become hard to come across. This is where freshman Elena Wigglesworth and her sister senior Claire Wigglesworth come into play.

Elena and Claire began sewing face masks for their family and neighbors shortly after the CDC began advocating for their use. As of April 27, the girls have made upwards of 316 masks, and have dedicated about 200 hours of their time to making them.

“Our mom asked us to make masks for our family and as we were thinking about how to do that, we heard that other people in our neighborhood were looking for masks too,” said Elena. “We knew that we would be able to make them, so we put a post on our neighborhood Facebook page to see who else was in need of them.”

The girls picked up sewing techniques from classes and their mother, but never really got into sewing until they began making the masks.

“Our first week of making them, that was pretty much all we did everyday,” said Elena. “We just went down to our basement, where we have all of the sewing equipment set up, and we would just sew for the whole day.”

The actual making of the masks can be very time consuming, with each mask taking around twelve steps to complete. The masks themselves are made out of one hundred percent cotton t-shirts, a wire piece to help with fit, and adjustable straps. The girls also recommend buying a filter to put in the masks as well.

“To save time we started making them in batches of about 30,” said Elena. “After they were made, we then had to pack them and deliver them to each of our neighbor’s doorsteps.”

The girls are currently using Facebook to sell the masks, and they sell for about five dollars each. Residents of their neighborhood have also helped by donating shirts for the girls to use.

“It’s definitely important for other people in the community to do things like this,” Elena said. “I am happy that we were able to help so many people in our community in our own small way. We put in a lot of hard work to do it, which makes me really grateful for everyone else who is doing their part to help out right now.”