Amid the pandemic that had just gripped the world, on March 21st, I found out that a personal friend, who happens to be a front-line doctor, needed masks, especially the precious N95 masks. I knew I had some in my storage and was thinking about donating them but was also hesitant because the thought also entered my mind, “What if I need them?”. However, in my heart, I knew that my mind was already made up when she also mentioned that they hadn’t received their masks; even though they ordered them a month ago. They were going to nursing homes totally unprotected. So, I asked the women of my community, The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, whether they would help me to sew fabric masks. I made a dozen and put a picture of them on my WhatsApp group with the ladies, and one of them, a doctor, also requested masks. From there, the project just flew!
To date, about twenty women of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community have made 1,226 masks and 37 surgical caps so far. We have donated to the homeless, farmers, neighbors, teachers and doctors in need of protective gear on behalf of Humanity First, a non-profit organization (usa.humanityfirst.org). Baskets were installed in front of homes giving away free masks to neighbors. The response has been of boundless gratitude and the ladies got something too: the satisfaction of giving help to others in times of need that aligns seamlessly with our core values of Islam.
As an Ahmadi Muslim, I personally embrace these values. First is that if we can help to save one life, we can save mankind. The other is that the rights of neighbors are met. By giving away masks for free, suddenly my neighbors were waving and sending good wishes. The comments I heard when neighbors were talking among themselves and thought I wasn’t hearing them were very heartening. The more I heard, the more I was made aware that some people could not afford to buy $5 or $10 masks. For those people, it was probably very difficult to put food on the table. It made it all worth the effort as we continue to “Sew for Safety”.
As long as we can continue to find the elusive ¼ inch elastic, we plan to keep our sewing machines buzzing while the need is there.