Local 4-H member Lexie Holder has been sewing Masks of Love ever since she was made aware of this project just a few weeks ago. This Masks of Love project is one initiated by UT-TSU Extension after the outbreak of COVID-19. Extension agents from across the state were given work from home orders to help flatten the curve. A few agents scratched their heads about what they could do from home, and the next thing you know, this project took flight.
Youth and adult volunteers from across the state are encouraged to make masks for health care workers. The masks being made are not hospital grade, but are to be used in case hospital grade is in short supply or if health care workers want to wear them over their approved personal protection.
Holder’s 4-H clothing and textiles project work started over a year ago when she constructed a garment to enter in the annual 4-H Clover Collection. This is an activity where youth can construct a garment to be entered and judged on construction abilities. She is now using her skills to construct masks. Many health care workers have actually reached out to her personally to sew masks for them when the need was more emergent.
Holder is a ninth grade 4-H member. She and her younger sister, Lacie, are home schooled. They are both active in the 4-H Horse project group and have competed in 4-H public speaking, horse bowl, and many other projects. Their mother, Hollie, is a 4-H volunteer leader that has taken leadership of the Horse Bowl and Hippology group.
All total Lexie has made 16 masks and has plans to sew many more. When asked what she has learned from this project her statement was “I learned that I can help no matter how big the problem is.”
If anyone would like to sew one or more masks for donation, they should use the instructions that have been approved by medical professionals. You can find those instructions on the UT-TSU Extension Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/CoffeeCoExt/. You can also email Michelle Matthews at firstname.lastname@example.org or Belinda Riddle at email@example.com to have the instructions directly sent to you. Masks will be accepted on Tuesdays between 2-4 p.m. A tub will be available where individuals can drop off completed masks without contact. Volunteers are encouraged to email Matthews or Riddle the day before to ensure the drop off day and time has not changed.