Mercer University senior Ashlyn Sheppard and her mother have teamed up to make masks for essential workers in and around her hometown of Stapleton in Jefferson County.
Sheppard and her mother have been making masks since March. So far, they have made about 115 masks for doctors offices, a hospital and even a restaurant in surrounding communities. Their work was featured locally in the McDuffie Progress newspaper.
“My mom received a phone call from a friend telling her that local hospitals had all but run out of masks and were asking for donations,” she said. “My mom used to own a business where she hand-made purses and clothes so we had a lot of fabric and sewing supplies.”
Sheppard, a music education major, is heavily involved in community service and is an active member in Mercer’s choirs.
Their masks are made with two layers of heavy fabric, as well as an additional layer of fabric to serve as a barrier inside of the masks. Sheppard’s father works in the medical field, helping her realize how important medical masks are, she said.
“It has been very obvious the impact a mask can make during these times,” she said. “Making masks for people to wear at work feels like a small task compared to what is asked of not just doctors, but people working for the mail service, people working at food banks, really anyone who does not have the option to stay home in order to stay safe.”
Sheppard said it has been a rewarding experience for her.
“I have received messages from some of the people that got masks, and they are all very grateful, which makes it worth all of the work and getting poked by needles,” she said. “I hope to continue making masks for as long as people need them.”