- Cynthia Fraser
The Merry Band of Sewers
Bill McLennan from Paul’s Place calls them the “Merry Band of Sewers”. Seven ladies banded together at the beginning of the pandemic in March to sew masks for non-profits, healthcare workers and their friends. Three of them, Julie Minch, Jane Lynn and Joanne Frisch are parishioners at Good Shepherd. It all started when a friend of Julie’s, Terry McTeague, received a request from an assisted living facility, asking for masks. The group got to work filling the orders and then their sewing circle took off. They developed an assembly line, Joanne would cut the material and match up the front and backs, and the other six ladies would sew and assemble them.
The requests and need kept coming, so this project has continued throughout the pandemic. They have provided 730 masks to GBMC, 140 to Gilchrist of Towson, 535 to ACTC, 160 to Paul’s Place and 50 to the families at St. Luke’s Youth Center. They did not stop there. Julie provided little masks for all of her students at Reisterstown Elementary, even getting her 4-year-old neighbor to be a model until she got one that fit just right for a little kid. They provided masks to several assisted living facilities like Blakehurst, senior centers like Bykota, healthcare workers at John Hopkins Pediatrics and Ballenger Chiropractic. To date, the seven ladies have made 2,817 masks!
Some of the material is donated from non-profits like ACTC, but most of the material has been purchased by the ladies or from their remnants. The elementary school kids in Julie’s class received a pattern inspired by the children’s book, “The Very Hungry Caterpillar”. They used paisleys and flower prints and holiday prints like shamrocks, snowflakes and hearts, and for the men, an Orioles pattern in the summer, and a Ravens pattern in the fall.
Julie said at the beginning of the pandemic, she was wondering, “what can I do to help?” She felt like this was something she and her mom could do to help. Jane Lynn said, “It keeps you busy, and you are doing some good.” She said Julie would call GBMC to ask if they needed more masks and the lady would be ecstatic! Jane has also continued her Project Linus work, sewing quilts for hospitalized children. She made about 100 quilts during the pandemic.
Even in a pandemic, when everyone is socially distancing, Good Shepherd parishioners find a way to continue to do good things for their community, and it is much appreciated!