While masks have become an important piece of equipment in the fight against COVID-19, Rick White knows one thing is still certain.
“You don’t have to see the smile to know it’s there,” he said.
White is a member of the Dennis-Harwich Lions Club, which recently embarked on a mission to make and supply masks, free of charge, to Cape Cod residents that need them. Through the Make-A-Mask Challenge, the Dennis-Harwich Lions have donated several hundred masks across the Cape in an attempt to help people protect their health, knowing that masks can and do save lives.
The challenge originated as a national campaign to get members of Lions Clubs around the country to make masks, White said. On the local level, there are about nine people with savvy sewing skills making masks that are then delivered to various places, including the Cape Cod Medical Reserve Corps, which then distributes them to areas of highest need. The Dennis-Harwich Lions also mails masks to those that have requested them, including a few special orders. One girl wished for a mask with a dog theme, while a Sandwich boy, a space enthusiast, asked for and received a mask with an image of the moon landing.
The women making the masks, White said, are the real unsung heroes.
“It’s them that are putting in the long, tedious hours producing these hand-sewn masks,” he said. “There’s always room for more people sewing. The masks are still in high demand and there are a lot of people that can’t afford masks.”
According to a press release, the Lions will also be making masks for children and educators preparing for a return to classrooms in the fall.
Because the Lions are a 501(c)3 non-profit, all the funds to support the Make-A-Mask Challenge had to come through specific donations earmarked for this campaign. To help raise funds for the continued making of masks, the club is now offering mask clips that fasten masks to a shirt front. Should there be any funds left over from the mask-making venture, the money will be directed toward other charitable giving done by the Lions.
White doesn’t anticipate a slowdown in mask making anytime soon and said the club will continue to make them as long as there’s a need and providing they have the volunteers necessary.
“We’re going to continue to make masks for as long as they’re needed,” White said, adding that the entire mask-making operation is strictly volunteer.
White said in the end, especially when, even through a mask, a smile can be seen, it’s worth it.
“When you see a thank-you note from someone, that’s the high point of a day,” he said.
To order a mask or donate to the making of masks, send a note or a check made out to the Dennis-Harwich Lions with Make-A-Mask Fund in the memo to the Dennis-Harwich Lions, PO Box 41, Dennisport, MA, 02639. Mask clips are $5 each or five for $20 and can also be ordered via the PO Box.