TRENDS Diary: Living And Breathing Home-Sewn Masks & A High-Proof Solution

TRENDS Diary, a project of the Community Foundation of Boulder County, is a place for Boulder County residents of all ages to share personal experiences that relate to a pressing community need. The focus, for now, is on our shared need to connect and solve problems, despite the increased isolation we’re all experiencing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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    TRENDS Diary: Living And Breathing Home-Sewn Masks & A High-Proof Solution KGNU News

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Dear TRENDS Diary,

Roberta: I was having a hard time at the beginning of the pandemic because of my post traumatic stress disorder. I was having nightmares again, and I was not sleeping well. One day, I remembered that I have a sewing machine, I have fabric — I can make masks.

Eddy Hinkley sports his mask, a gift from Roberta and Gary

Gary: Once Roberta brought it up, I wanted to help. I can’t sew, but I can cut a pattern, I can iron. So I am in charge of ironing the fabric, laying out the template, tracing the template, cutting out the linings and the outer layers, and then Roberta takes it from there.

Roberta: We’ve gotten fabric donated, elastic donated. People are just donating left and right. The masks are free to all, but if someone insists on giving us a donation, we’ll take it. We don’t let anyone who is struggling pay.

Every time we hand out one, we get a request for five more. I had to go to the phone store today for a repair; I gave each of the workers masks because they were in customer service with no protection. It seems like there’s a lot of need. We have a running list of requests and deliveries.

One of my friends took one each for herself and her husband, who works at Warren Village, a nonprofit single-parent housing community in Denver. He asked for 100 masks, so we started on those.

Gary: I’m totally grooving on it. It’s like a working meditation: When I’m focused and being present, I’m not in my head, I’m not worried about things. I’m enjoying it.

Roberta: It’s taking so much energy. We wake up, we live and breathe masks all day until we’re about to drop. I’ve hardly thought about the virus.

I love doing this. It fills my heart.

– Roberta Walbert and Gary Shunk, as told to Shay Castle

Dear TRENDS Diary,

I’m the founder and president of Mythology Distillery. We’re a whiskey, gin and vodka distillery based in Denver. Similar to many other Colorado distilleries, we switched our production to hand sanitizer to help first responders and organizations in need.

There’s a mass shortage of hand sanitizer out there because there’s a lack of high-proof alcohol. As a distillery we make high-proof alcohol so we have the unique ability to help.

Mythology Distillery-made hand sanitizer, ready to be donated

We have a number of family members that are emergency room doctors and we were finding out they don’t have access to it.

I was an affordable housing developer for 10 years, so I know a lot of groups that help at-risk communities. I was talking to Andy Allison, a Boulder-area affordable developer, and Isabel McDevitt, the head of Boulder nonprofit Bridge House, which helps unhoused individuals. These are folks who don’t have access to wash their hands after every interaction. So we have donated sanitizer to Bridge House for their clients.

We made a significant monetary donation to Operation Family Meal to provide free meals to people from the service industry. We are also helping our restaurant and bars accounts in various ways.

It’s been really rewarding work. We’ve donated to doctors, nurses, police officers, the Marines, firefighters, at risk communities and hospital workers. They all give us this incredibly genuine thank you for what we’re trying to do. It’s given us an added purpose right now.

As a small business owner, it’s beyond words to see people come together and try to help. Owning a business, we deal and adapt to business disruptions all the time; not like this, but there’s always something to handle. This is our time to shine and help the community.

– Scott Yeates, as told to Shay Castle

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    TRENDS Diary: Living And Breathing Home-Sewn Masks & A High-Proof Solution KGNU News




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