A local duo is making free masks to help keep the community safe from COVID-19. Single mom of two, Tracy Crawford, and her mother, Devon Baxter, started making masks back in April, days before Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer, Theresa Tam, recommended that Canadians start using them in situations where physical distancing was a challenge. As a retired costume designer and avid quilter, Devon had all sorts of extra material, and when Tracy suggested they start making masks, she thought it was a great idea. “I felt like it was something we could do to keep busy and stave off worry,” Tracy says.
Over the past few months, Tracy and Devon have made over 1,000 masks for the North Grenville community. After finding the process of taking orders a bit too labour intensive, the pair partnered with B&H to help distribute them. The masks are in a box in the B&H entrance, with a request to take one per household. They are free, but a donation to the Food Bank is appreciated. “Jim [Beveridge of B&H] has been very supportive,” she says. “We had 50 masks go in one day.”
Tracy and Devon also sewed masks in support of Kemptville Pride and sold them for $5 at To Be Continued, and the owner, Shelley Mitchell, waived their consignment fee, so all the money went directly to support Kemptville Pride’s efforts.
Tracy felt it was important to do something to help the community during the pandemic. She knows how expensive masks can be right now, and believes that everyone should have access to them, no matter their income. “It is the poorest people in our community who might be the ones who need them the most,” she says.
The mother/daughter duo have had fun creating masks out of all sorts of fabric. They went shopping for the material they used to make the Kemptville Pride masks, but also used up a lot of what they already had in stock. “Some of the masks that went out were made of old baby flan-
nel. Instead of keeping my baby safe, it’s going to keep other people safe.”
After taking a bit of a break in June, Tracy and Devon are back at it and are now calling themselves “The Masking Bandits”. They even had a logo created by St. Michael Catholic High School student, Elysa Itterman.
Tracy is encouraged by all the other stories she has heard about other people making masks for their respective communities all over the world. She mentioned that her hairdresser, Crystal Lalonde, has also made and given away over 500 masks. “It’s kind of nice to be thinking that, while I am pinning and sewing, there are people across the world doing the same thing,” she says. “It’s a unifying thought.”