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When Covid-19 struck my hometown of St. Petersburg, Florida, I was desperate to help my city in any way I could even while quarantined at home. But how could I fight an invisible threat? It struck me that my years of making costumes for my kids' school plays granted me an invaluable skill: sewing. I immediately pulled out my sewing machine and some fabric scraps and began making masks to donate to local first responders. I was astounded by the massive demand– after a single Facebook post, I was contacted by hundreds of healthcare workers desperate for my handmade masks.
But as dozens of masks turned into hundreds, I began handing a few out to my friends in exchange for small donations to offset material costs of my passion project. Eventually, local stores asked to sell my masks, and I ecstatically agreed; each mask sold paid for two mask donations to local first responders.
But the masks were soon flying off the displays at every retailer that stocked them, and I realized that perhaps I had found a real, tangible way to help my neighborhood. While the need for non-medical grade masks is, thankfully, considerably lower among healthcare workers than when I began, I found a new way to help: by spreading just a little bit of joy and positivity across St. Pete, and now across the U.S.. I hand-select each fabric based on a single criteria: does it make me smile?
So here is my creation– Happy Planet masks. My audience might have changed, but my goal remains the same. I want to encourage a Happy Planet wherever I can, one mask at a time.