“It’s all Stan’s fault,” said Callie Bartholomae as she dropped a bright blue face mask into a Ziploc bag. Bartholomae, with fellow organizer Patty Stevens, was upstairs at The First Baptist Church of Nobleboro sorting and packaging 55 hand-sewn face masks for delivery to the Nobleboro Village Store and the Nobleboro Post Office.
When the coronavirus hit, the Rev. Stan LeQuire, pastor of the church, suggested that the congregation’s small craft group make face masks to give away in the community. The group already had plenty of fabric. Other necessary supplies were quickly sourced and donated. Most importantly, they had willing hands skilled at sewing.
Eight community volunteers have been working at home to sew the 200-plus masks that have already been given out. Stevens and Bartholomae, who have taken on the task of cutting out the patterns, have an additional 300 fabric forms ready for sewing.
Stevens said that during a recent power outage, church organist Norma Baldwin, who in her 80s is one of the most productive members of the group, got her generator out and kept sewing. “She’s a trooper,” Stevens said.
Bartholomae sliced through a sheet of pale yellow card stock, cutting instructions to accompany each mask. Stevens deftly inserted one into a bag with a mask and slid the Ziploc closed.
LeQuire stopped by to touch base and inspect the growing stack of bags. The three shared tips for mask use: how to insert a folded tissue over the bridge of the nose to prevent glasses fog, a reminder to wash the face mask before use.
Of the community response to their efforts, Stevens said, “They love them. They’re gone in an hour or so, which is good. People want them. And they want to wear them.”