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Mask-making group creates quilt that tells the story of its makers

Published: Jul. 17, 2020 at 7:57 AM EDT|Updated: Jul. 17, 2020 at 11:54 AM EDT
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ST. ALBANS, Vt. (WCAX) - Keys, phone and a face mask -- it’s a new dress code for daily life. Thousands of busy hands have been making and donating face coverings to people across Vermont, and now a St. Albans woman has created a group aimed at highlighting the helpers.

“Yeah, it really is a wonderful outreach to us, the support we have had from the community has been great,” Colchester Police Chief Douglas Allen said.

Allen’s department is one of the latest to receive a donation of face masks from an unlikely source.

Nestled into the side of a hill in St. Albans is the heart of the Franklin County Mask Project.

“It’s really taken on a life of its own. I never would have dreamed when we started this that it would come to this,” said Pam Cross, the founder and organizer of the mask makers.

The group has 120 good sewers and hundreds more supporters. Cross says the group has already donated more than 21,000 masks to organizations and businesses in need of face coverings. She gives the credit for the donations to those involved and takes none for herself.

“We don’t sell our masks. All our masks are donated, so if somebody calls us and says our organization needs 500 masks, here are the 500 masks,” Cross said.

But with an estimated 10,000-plus hours going into creating all the masks, Cross and other members of the group realized that they needed a break.

“So this was a really cool thing for them. I asked each sewer to make me three blocks, and you can see this quilt has 121 blocks in it,” said Cross.

The former registered nurse saw how the pandemic has made people afraid. She sees the quilt as a symbol of willingness to step up for the community. She plans to raffle it off with the money going to help her team make even more masks.

“This gave people -- mainly women, there were a couple men -- an avenue to channel their energies into something really positive, so they came out with something that would help someone else,” said Cross.

And as long as there is a need for masks, she says they are willing to continue to make the masks.

Cross says that they are now looking ahead to making sure schools are ready to take kids back in the fall fully equipped with masks.

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