Like many people, Jackie Davidson’s desire to help others began at home. With a number of elderly relatives and a 3-year-old granddaughter who was born with MCAD deficiency, which puts her at risk of serious complications from a virus like COVID-19, Jackie, an account manager with Staff Management | SMX in Indiana, wanted to make sure her family was protected.
“Our first batch of masks were made for all of our immediate family members—21 adults and 10 children; two masks each for a total of 62 masks,” she said. “We did what we could to make sure our most vulnerable are protected as much as possible,’ she said. “And now it has evolved into so much more!”
Word spread quickly when people found out about the masks. A relative who is a nurse in a Marion County, Ind., COVID-19 ward asked for them for times when nurses were not in contact with patients, but needed basic protection. Jackie’s daughter, a cosmetologist and hair salon manager who wanted to stay connected to her clients and help them stay healthy, asked how she could help. Soon they realized that there were many people around Salem, Ind. , a town of 6000, 45 minutes north of Louisville, who needed help.
“I have seen on social media sites where people are charging $5-$15 for homemade masks,” she said. “Even $5 right now is too much for someone who is not working and has a family they have to provide for. We are not charging anything because right now we are lucky enough to be able to afford materials to make the masks and it costs us nothing for our time.”
The masks even come with some flair, thanks to a relative with a design connection.
“My Aunt Glenda has been working in upholstery (cars, restaurant booths, furniture, etc.) for over 40 years. She is the one who came up with the patterns for making the masks. She is also in charge of cutting the material and making all the pleats in the masks,” she said.
Jackie’s daughter also makes soap, so they decided to expand from masks for people they knew to goody bags for the town. They put together the goody bags with soap, masks and a note and sent them to people around Salem. Whether the note is for nurses on the front lines, hair salon clients or community members, the notes contain the same message: stay safe, stay healthy and thank you for what you’re doing to help. Because the project is not just about masks, it’s about staying connected and serving the community.
“Giving back to the people on the front lines, the elderly, immune compromised and our community is the least we can do,” Jackie said. “Just to let people know that there are not just bad things happening at this time. It is a great feeling when you can do anything for someone else that will help them in their time of distress and need.”
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