Mask maker, mask maker

Tue, 03/31/2020 - 10:15am

    Free face masks are in the making in Wiscasset for a 4-year-old with cancer, some nurses in and outside Maine, and others seeking masks due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the residents donating the fabric, their time sewing, or both. Residents interviewed via phone, email and text described multiple ongoing efforts to make and distribute masks.

    King Family Farm’s June King has been a registered nurse 30 years, so she has a lot of friends in healthcare and she, her family and others “knew immediately that we had to do it. We have the material, we have the skill, we could use more manpower but are doing what we can.”

    Elizabeth Palmer doesn’t sew, but she can cut squares and has been helping King coordinate the mask-making. The effort is “Wiscassetry at its best,” like the noontime bell-ringing the outbreak also spurred, Palmer said. “It’s on the fly and full of figuring things out as we go ...”

    The fight against COVID-19 is a kind of war, Palmer said. “Making masks is as valuable to combating this virus as rolling bandages was to combating gangrene in the Civil War. You do what you can with what you have.” 

    Want to help sew or find out how to donate materials? Contact King at or King Family Farm on Facebook. King said her mother Jane Lebourdais has been doing most of the sewing; others include Celynne Lawler and retired nurse Pat Bouchard, “a great seamstress,” King added. King said other friends and family are doing anything else needed, including delivering fabric and elastic and cutting fabric.

    In another local effort, Maggie Zieg has been making masks because she learned there was a need and she had the fabric to make them. She was still finding out where some will go. She sent some to a Brewer friend to give to child care centers and police. 

    Christine Hopf-Lovette usually makes fashion for her business Asian Accents. The media relations retiree is now making masks to give away. “I knew I had the fabric, I knew I could sew, so it was ‘Hey, this is something I can do.’ I just wanted to help ... I think as a retiree, it’s sort of a natural thing, to help when you can.”

    As of Saturday, she had made about 30 masks and planned to give Zieg those and 20 Hopf-Lovette said Lisa Freeman made. Zieg will distribute those and then Hopf-Lovette planned to keep making masks for anyone who would like one, such as to help them follow one of the COVID-19 precautions, to not touch their face. “I have lots of fabric so I’m just going to continue to make them because I’m sure there’s going to be a need for them.”

    Responding to an email question Monday about volunteer mask-making, LincolnHealth spokesman John Martin said its mask supply is “OK ... at this point” and LincolnHealth works daily with the MaineHealth supply chain to monitor stock. “We have seen an outpouring of support from people in our communities, offering to make masks, donating masks, making and giving us hand sanitizer and more.  It's heartwarming to see so many people willing to share their talents,” Martins wrote.

    And King said she feels fortunate to work for Mid Coast Parkview Health “where we have adequate PPE at this time. I do have to say that I am beyond disappointed that in some facilities first line healthcare providers are without the very best PPE. It is not something I thought possible for our country.”

    To request a mask from Hopf-Lovette, email her at