Masks Save Lives!
It is bittersweet to announce the Mighty Masketeers of Columbia County are winding down our program. We are delighted that the need for free, handmade masks has been replaced by readily available, commercially produced masks and respirators, but saddened that the incredible energy of our volunteers and donors will become a cherished memory, rather than a daily presence.
Looking back, we are so proud of all that was accomplished by so many caring souls. We estimate we produced and distributed more than 10,000 masks – all free, all handmade, all a representation of love and caring from donors, cutters, stitchers, drivers, techies and administrators. We progressed from cut up cotton shirts, cannibalized vacuum bags and house filters, and too many design prototypes to count, to produce one of the best handmade masks available.
Our masks have found their way to medical workers, farmers markets, housing complexes, prisons, sovereign nations and everyday people. We have shared our designs widely, made our wonderful filtration media available to mask makers anywhere, and kept a small fleet of sewing machines humming. Along the way, we have found a purpose for ourselves when chaos ruled the days, and built kinship with each other that endures.
In addition to this legacy, we have established an ongoing scholarship with Columbia Greene Community College for students wishing to learn to sew. The remainder of the funds raised through our generous donors have been distributed to our sister organizations – The Columbia County Recovery Kitchen and The Grow in Harmony Community Garden. The Kitchen, the Garden and the Masketeers were all formed in unison to meet a need. While the need for masks has been met, the important work of the people at the Kitchen and Garden continues. We are grateful for the work they do, and believe their mission is the best use of our surplus.
Lastly, we wish to thank everyone. We are too many to thank individually, to look in the eye, to hug, to reminisce with, so please accept our most heartfelt thanks, virtually.