SANTA MARIA, Calif. - Santa Maria resident Reina Chavez is currently unemployed.
But in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, she is choosing to help others by making masks at Little House by the Park, a family service agency in Guadalupe.
"It’s helping the community know that we want to save lives. There’s a lot of people dying of the coronavirus we just want to make the community safer and just help the whole community so they don’t have to end up in the hospital."
Chavez, one of about a dozen unemployed women at the Little House by the Park, is working with United Way to produce thousands of protective masks for Santa Barbara County residents.
"We decided to take on this project and we have over 20 sewing machines at the center so we decided to use them," said Mireya Pina with Little House by the Park.
In addition to making these masks for those in need, the unemployed women are able to earn money for each mask made thanks to United Way.
"So there were some seamstresses who have been out of work or under employed for some time and we worked with them to get them back to work by sewing high-quality masks," said CEO Eddie Taylor with United Way.
Taylor said United Way plans to continue to support the Little House sewing project as long as funding is available.
The masks are being made high-quality virus filter material that is inserted into the masks.
"My hope is for all this spread of the Coronavirus to stop," said Chavez.
The first 1,000 mask will be used to distribute to the unsheltered homeless as well as people residing in shelters.