Insights & Information

Mask-making mom serves by example


Before the terms “shelter in place” and “social distance” became household words and COVID-19 disease arrived in the U.S., Heather Parsons had been buying a particular kind of fabric and elastic. Lots of it.

This will make some nice hair accessories and dog bandanas, she thought with each purchase.

But God had something entirely different in store, she said — a ministry of the mask making face coverings to help protect family and friends from the COVID-19 disease caused by the coronavirus.

It all began in late March with a call from fellow Triad Baptist member and brother-in-law Jesse Dyson whose son, Lincoln, would be going to the hospital with his mom, Melody, for an appointment.

mask_example5 (1)Looking up some mask-making plans online, Parsons realized she had all the raw materials required — a good thing since, by the time COVID-19 hit the U.S., crafters had largely cleared the shelves of mask-making materials.

This shortage followed the shortage of commercial masks that had many health care workers reusing the same mask long past its recommended use.

“Had I not been buying that elastic beforehand, I wouldn’t have been able to find any,” Parsons said. “I thought I was buying it to make scrunchies. But God knew I was buying it to make masks!”

Her first batch proved a hit with nurses at Brenner Children’s Hospital.

“Melody said they were commenting on them and she wished she could sew so she could make some,” Parsons said. “I just made a dozen for her to take to them the next day.”

For Lincoln, Parsons made a special mask with green glow-in-the-dark teeth.

masks2While not as protective as N95 and other commercial-grade surgical masks, the cloth masks are a good substitute that offers more protection than no barrier — and are even more effective when coffee filters and other materials are added in the space provided in their dense cloth using the instructions provided. Worn over commercial-grade masks, the cloth masks can also help them stay cleaner and extend usability.

Parsons figures she has made dozens of masks since March for family and friends, including those mailed to other parts of North Carolina and other states. One series of black cloth masks had a design featuring the words “Faith over fear” in white on the front.

Another church member who learned of her work found and shared some elastic she wasn’t using with Parsons.

heatherandtori2While Parsons’ daughter, Tori, 8, helped her make a few masks early on, the second grader at Piney Grove Elementary School’s main role in the project is praying over the finished product before Parsons distributes them for free.

Parsons is among several Triad members who have made masks for themselves or others.

With Mother’s Day approaching, Tori is proud of her mom and her mask-making outreach and heart and love for others.

“I think it’s a good thing and everyone should do it especially because of the coronavirus,” Tori said of her mom’s handiwork. “I think it’s a really really good thing because people need to stay safe from getting the coronavirus.”

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