Fernbrook Elementary Student Makes and Donates Over 500 Reusable Face Masks
Jillian Jones is a 2nd grade student at Fernbrook Elementary School. In addition to riding her bike and going to the park, she loves butterflies and the movie Frozen. In early March 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic forced the schools to close in New Jersey, Jillian was not able to enjoy her favorite outside pastimes. In addition to her parents and Host Exchange Sister Samar, Jillian’s 2 cousins from Connecticut came to stay with her as well. With 4 kids and the extended school closure, there was plenty of free time for Jillian and her cousins and they wanted to find a way to help.
Jillian’s mom’s hobby of sewing came in handy at the right time. Jillian was able to make doll clothes from scraps of material given to her by her mom in the past, but now she was ready for more. Jillian and her cousins started the 678 Masks Group. They decided to learn how to make face masks to donate. Jillian’s mom gifted her cotton fabric and notions and off they went to create masks. Other relatives and friends also donated fabric to the girls for masks. With feedback from friends and family members, Jillian looked at the challenge facing the front line workers who wore the masks for extended periods of time. They decided to go with a more efficient and useful mask that would last long. Jillian’s mom did all the sewing on her Baby Lock machine and Jillian also learned how to thread and maintain the machine.
Jillian’s masks are 100% cotton and feature a pocket to insert your own filter for additional protection. They also feature a nose pocket to insert a pipe cleaner to contour to your nose. Lastly, the masks feature a loop design that loops onto your head and ties in the back. This eliminates ear irritation and also lets you wear the mask around your neck.
The 3 girls worked hard to follow and cut patterns, assemble and finish masks. They kept inventory of the 3 sizes and even distributed via porch pickup or mail. They chose beautiful patterns that range from flowers to denim and geometric shapes. Every day after school, they started their other job – making masks. Working diligently, by the end of May 2020, the girls made and donated over 550 masks to front line employees including her own mailman!
Jillian believes that everyone can do their part, no matter how big or small to fight COVID-19.