Making Masks From Scratch

Zoey Lampert and Makenna Meinerding, with help from their grandmother Kathy Lampert, are helping out by sewing and donating homemade masks to hospitals, pharmacies and nursing homes. They have made almost 100 masks.
Staff Writer

With the COVID-19 pandemic causing supply issues for face masks, local residents have begun to step in and try to fill the need.

Vickie Wehner and her two children, Stella, 13, and Milton, 10, saw an opportunity to do some good and began making masks this week in their home. 

Wehner said she saw there was going to be a need for face masks and asked her children if they would help out.

They agreed.

“We saw how there was going to be a huge need and I have a bunch of fabric because I sew in my spare time,” said Wehner. “I had a bunch of 100% cotton fabric and a bunch of elastic. We started doing that and I posted it on Facebook asking if anyone wanted them.”

People starting reaching out to Wehner, asking her how much she charged for the masks, but Wehner and her children decided to donate them.

“We were going to charge, but the people that wanted them were telling us they were in the health care field, or were a pharmacist or had family members fighting cancer,” said Wehner. “We told them to just take them. We just donated everything.”

Others in the community have been busy making masks as well.

Kathy Lampert and her two grandchildren, Makenna Meinerding, 11, and Zoey Lampert, 10, are donating their own masks to those in need.

“With school being out, the girls wanted something to do,” said Lampert, “and we came up with this. I’m a nurse and we knew that the need is out there and they wanted to learn how to sew and we just started from there.”

Lampert said they have donated close to 100 masks so far to individuals and businesses in the area, including Mercer Health, Joint Township District Memorial Hospital, Mile Creek Animal Hospital, Schwieterman Pharmacy, pastors at the Zion Lutheran Church and St. Paul’s United Church, local chiropractors and surgeons. 

Wehner said she and her children were currently at a total of 87 masks donated and still had 15 more to make because people had requested them.

She said the support she’s gotten has been overwhelmingly positive.

“Everybody’s been so generous, dropping off gifts and money, regardless of what I tell them,” said Wehner. “Everybody’s real appreciative.”

Wehner said she’s had people say to her that the masks aren’t practical in helping protect you from getting sick, but she said a little protection is still better than no protection.

“I understand they’re not going to protect me from getting sick, but if I would get sick or be around somebody, it’s nice to have,” said Wehner. “I touch my face a lot and don’t even know it. So if I’m protecting myself just from touching my face then that works.”

Stella and Milton are members of the Noble Harvesters 4-H Club and Wehner said that their 4-H adviser dropped off some material the other day for them to use to sew masks. 

While the coronavirus pandemic has given the public reason to worry, it’s people like Wehner, Lampert and their families that show how united a community can become during a crisis.

“Instead of being on devices, this gives them a sense of purpose in my opinion,” said Wehner. “We’re living in a time where history is being made, so they can at least relay to their kids or grandkids what they did to try to help.”