• Last modified 859 days ago (April 9, 2020)


Seamstress donates masks to keep others safe

Staff writer

Lehigh resident Jacqueline Cusick has spent the last three weeks sewing with a mission.

She, along with other seamstresses in the county, has been creating face masks for people working in the health care industry.

“I’ve made about 100 masks so far,” Cusick said.

She’s certainly not finished. She’ll be keeping at it until the COVID-19 pandemic slows down enough that companies who ordinarily make face masks can fill the need for them.

“They’re like toilet paper — you can’t find them,” said Marion resident Luci Helmer, who has made about 75 face masks.

“I started probably about two weeks ago,” Helmer said. “Shortly after we were given the school shutdown.”

Cusick said she uses T-shirts donated by Brent Barkman, owner of Barkman Honey, to make the masks. She attaches long ties to them so they can be tied behind the head instead of looped over the wearer’s ears.

“Bethesda home in Goessel said they prefer the ties much better,” Cusick said. “As of today they are instituting a policy that everyone must wear one.”

Besides Bethesda Home, Cusick has donated masks to Salem Home in Hillsboro, Westview Manor in Peabody, Marion’s museum, and a hospital in Wichita. She’s also provided masks to people who asked her to make them for her.

Helmer’s masks have been donated to Marion Assisted Living Center and St. Luke Clinic.

“I’ll figure out the next place when I get there,” Helmer said.

Her daughter, director of the assisted living center, also delivers masks to the clinic, so Helmer doesn’t have to leave the safety of her home.

“She’s the one who brought it to my attention,” Helmer said. “She brought me a picture and said, ‘Can you make this?’ ”

Although Cusick is working a full-time job, she has contacts she can call who will pick the masks up from her porch and take them where they are needed.

Cusick said people sewing masks make differing styles. The ones she makes have pockets on the inside in case the wearer needs to have a different face mask underneath.

Amy Boudreaux, executive director of Marion Assisted Living, said close to 50 masks have been donated to the facility so far. That’s helpful because her employees are now required to wear them.

“Everyone is going to be wearing masks,” Boudreaux said.

Shana Thornhill, Shelly Kaiser, Madonna Schafers, and Jeannie Wildin, all of Marion, Cathy Fish of Marion, and Angela Spielman, who lives in Baldwin City have also donated masks.

Last modified April 9, 2020