SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - The term "homemade mask" is quickly becoming a fashion trend.
The need is great and so is the local response, thanks in part to the newly formed Masks on a Mission group, created by the Free Methodist Church on Santa Barbara's Mesa.
"Oh my gosh, you've got to see this!" exclaimed Mary Turley. "Somehow in my stash I got this camo print fabric!"
Turley opened a bag full of homemade fabric masks. The Mesa resident estimated there were about 60 left in her stash after making the latest deliveries throughout town.
"I have 50 ladies who are sewing, there are no guys yet, but 50 ladies who are sewing and they're amazing!"
Turley said she culled Nextdoor and other social networking sites looking for power sewers, former sewing teachers and crafters. She's still helping recruit members to the group.
"It really speaks to the power of just doing it and our passion," Turley said. "It's a very blessed mission."
This sewing bee is high-tech, using Zoom to connect once a week for sewing tips and tutorials. So far, the ladies have received orders for 100 fabric masks for the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's deputies and jail staff -- that special camouflage fabric is for them.
Turley said the group also received an order from the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department for medical staff at the county's "alternative hospital," once it's online.
"120 out of this blue, hospital blue, with a pocket for a filter," Turley said, holding up a cobalt blue mask. "This is meant to go over a filter or N95 mask but if by chance they don't have that they'll be able to stick something in here."
Turley said the group is "jazzed" to be part of the bigger effort in our community to help protect essential frontline workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"It is totally awesome!"
Masks on a Mission is in need of more mask makers as well as fabric, bias tape and donations. If interested, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.