Students hand make masks for those in need

Chloe Grimm, Feature Editor

A Revere High School sophomore has created the Mask Makers club, which provides hand sewn masks to Summa Health facilities for visitors that need them.
Carla Nemer, president of the club, wanted to start this project because she saw the need for masks at the beginning of the Coronavirus pandemic.

“My dad is a physician, and he works in downtown Akron where there are underserved people coming. When they came in, they weren’t wearing masks, not because they were bothered by it or they did not want to wear it, [but] my dad, due to the mask shortage did not have enough [masks] to just hand out to everybody. I had a lot of material at home, and just did it myself,” Nemer said.

Before Nemer started the club, she made 300 masks in the first few months of quarantine. She then donated these to health care offices in downtown Akron that needed the extra supplies. She later found out about a program Summa Health has, where she could be provided with kits containing all the materials needed for masks. Nemer knew she could get these kits to others that wanted to help their community.

“Summa sends us kits, and each kit comes with 20 pieces of [cotton] fabric. Each mask has two layers and one string of elastic, which you cut and pin to the sides. The kids who know how to sew and have sewing machines sew the full masks themselves, but I also wanted to reach out to all my friends that do not know how to sew, or do not have sewing machines, and I still want them to get volunteer hours,” Nemer said.
Each mask you sew is worth one volunteer hour, and if you cannot sew, you can still receive volunteer hours for pinning, ironing, and pleating the fabric. There are 43 members in the club, including Vice President Shreya Gupta. Gupta is a sophomore at Revere High School.

“If you do not know how to sew, you could just cut the fabric and pin them together, and then give it to someone that knows how to sew. You only get half a volunteer hour for it,” Gupta said.

To start a club at Revere, a supervisor is needed. Nemer asked Spanish teacher Maria Fela to fill that role.The meetings will be held in her room. ]“I feel it is our duty as citizens in this great country of ours to help others in need at all times, pandemic or not, but especially during catastrophic times,” Fela said.

During summer, the club held bi-weekly zoom calls to discuss numbers and how they would get the masks to Nemer. During the summer, Nemer mailed everyone their kits and they mailed them back after they had finished. Now the club has meetings after school at least once a month. At the end of summer the club donated 500 masks to Summa Health, and are increasing this number as the school year progresses.