With so much negativity going on right now, there is some positive news in our community. Volunteers have dusted off their sewing machines and started making masks and facial coverings, donating them to those who need them the most.

Some of the masks made by Danielle Love. Photo by Danielle Love

“I originally started thinking about making them for a friend who works in a NICU,” said Diana Kurr. “I did a lot of research and found out the HEPA filter bags would be the best protection. I’ve just had a lot of fun researching the information and what’s the best quality. I’m having fun making all of it.”

Many individuals from The Idyllwild Mountain Quilters (IMQ) have taken to their sewing machines, creating dozens of masks to help those in our community stay safe.

Owner of the Idyllwild Quilt Shop and IMQ member Chris Finney said, “People are saying they weren’t able to find masks, so it was a need and needed to be done. We have the skill and machines and thought we would jump in to help.” 

“I’ve been handing out a dozen a day for over a week,” Finney added. “We gave some to Fairway Market, the Idyllwild Pharmacy and many others. It’s all been word of mouth and to whoever needs them.”

It’s estimated that about 10 IMQ members, if not more, are volunteering their time, according to Finney. She’s opened up her shop for those members who need supplies. 

Diana Kurr donated these colorful masks.   Photo by Diana Kurr

“I’m not doing it for money,” Finney said. “I’m doing it because it’s a need and I want to support the community.”

After posting on Facebook, Danielle Love took to her sewing machine to make a mask for anyone who needed one. As of Monday morning, she made 18 masks. 

“I am hoping to make eight to ten every day,” Love said. “They are going to friends and family on my Facebook friends list.”

Love’s only condition: “In honor of the free masks, I’m asking that people do a good deed for someone else or they can sponsor another person on their friend’s list to receive a mask for $20. I do not physically have the capabilities to make mass quantities of these, nor am I selling them. Most of the sponsorship money is going to purchase more materials.” 

Pam Martin matches her attire with her homemade mask by Diana Kurr
  Photo courtesy of Pam Martin

Love has nerve damage in her arms, but still sees the need for masks. 

“I’m just getting over my third surgery and second spinal fusion,” Love said. “I’m just trying to do this within my capabilities without hurting myself and help what little that I can.”

If you are looking to make your own masks without having to sew, all the supplies you need are at Miss Sunshine’s General Store. 

“I have 15 dozen bandanas coming in this week, as well as elastic hair bands,” said Owner Shelly Downes. “Some are using pipe cleaners and we have many in stock as of April 6.” 

For those in need of elastic Downes said, “I will have sewing elastic in by the April 20.”

Diana Orr, co-owner of Wax Apothecary said, “I’ve used my extra time to start making fabric face masks to help to provide where there are medical shortages. Almost every version of manufactured masks, from everyday surgical masks to N95 respirators, appear to confer at least some level of protection against disease transmission. Study after study has confirmed that, in hospitals as well as in daily life interactions. 

“My efforts may be miniscule in comparison to what we are all facing globally, but if each one of us does their part, we can help protect ourselves and our community together.”

No matter how many or few masks people are making, the commonality is people are wanting to help each other. Together, the community will pull through safer, stronger and more connected.