JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A nationwide sewing group called “Auntie Sewing Squad” has been making free masks for people who need them during the coronavirus pandemic.
Jacksonville resident Lori Ann Brown discovered the group, which was started by comedian Kristina Wong, in the spring.
“Back in March, I started making masks for all of my friends, all of my neighbors, all of my family,” explained Brown. “And I started running out of fabric and supplies, and I thought, ’I don’t know how I’m going to keep doing this.’”
That’s when she joined the sewing group made up of anonymous sewers from all across the country making masks.
The masks are sent to various groups and organizations, including schools, indigenous people and farm workers under the threat of wildfires in California.
“It’s a very joyous job,” Brown said. “It’s the best feeling in the world to make a mask for a small child and to know I’m impacting the world. He could grow up and be a leader, he could grow up and discover something wonderful, and I want that.”
Brown said her home is considered a major hub for the sewing group. She collects donations and organizes distribution from inside her old entertainment room that’s been transformed into a sewing room.
She also established a branch of the sewing group called “Grandmas Sewing Squad.”
“I’m doing this because I love my country,” explained Brown. “I truly believe that every one of those masks will save a life.”
To date, Brown said Aunties Sewing Group has distributed nearly 90,000 masks.
To volunteer or donate, Brown said to visit the Auntie Sewing Squad Facebook Page.
Brown said they also accept donations locally. You can drop sewing supplies in the pink flamingo bins located at Shampoo Cut and Color Salon on Stockton Street or at Coral Reef Veterinary Hospital in Neptune Beach.