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Sew generous: Salem Glen Mask Makers have donated more than 3,200 masks

By Betsy P. Ramsbotham 
For the Clemmons Courier

Human compassion abounds during the Christmas season.

People do nice things for others, just because. They rake their neighbors’ leaves. They deliver meals to shut-ins. They leave larger tips for servers. In the drive-thru line at fast food places, they pay the bill for the car behind them. They donate money to organizations that serve the needs of those struggling financially.

In the COVID-19 era, people compassionately wear masks to minimize the chances of asymptomatic virus transmission to others.

Back in April when the CDC recommended that wearing masks could save lives, masks were relatively scarce since health care workers received the majority of available supplies.

So in April, long before the Christmas season of compassion even started, a group of Clemmons women known as the Salem Glen Mask Makers began sewing masks for their neighbors.

“The idea was to sew for our neighbors in Salem Glen,” said organizer Elizabeth O’Meara. “The sewing volunteers delivered the masks to my house and dropped them off in the tub on my porch. I bagged up requests and volunteers made contactless deliveries and collected donations,” she said.

“Over time, our little group of sewing volunteers grew to 17, and neighborhood donations allowed us to give face masks to essential workers here in Clemmons. From April through November, we gave away masks to multiple local businesses, the fire department, several non-profits including the Clemmons Food Pantry staff and clients, the Hispanic League programs and many child care and day care organizations. We gave hundreds of masks to public school staffs in both Forsyth and Davie Counties,” she said.

Jana Yen passes out packets of Christmas masks from her organization to the Salem Glen Mask Makers.

Because of generous donations, the group was able to buy high-quality cottons and threads from Sewingly Yours in Lewisville. As of December, they had sewn more than 3,900 face masks and donated more than 3,200.

Masks are now locally plentiful due to increased commercial production and private groups’ production, so the Salem Glen Mask Makers have wound down their production.

Although they have put away their sewing machines, the ladies’ compassion for others has continued. They donated their $1,000 unspent donations to the Clemmons Food Pantry.

They donated leftover mask-making materials to a grateful organization.

 “Jana Yen’s Guilford Facemask Project is a much broader effort and is sewing and donating face masks locally, nationally and even internationally. When we read about her project, we offered her the remaining materials we had,” said O’Meara.

“It is a satisfying ending to our project and a continuation of the important efforts to mask everyone and protect the wearer’s health and the health of others,” she said.

Editors note: We at the Clemmons Courier, along with many other local businesses and residents, were amazed at the work this group accomplished to help us stay safe during the pandemic. We were recipients of masks on more than one occasion and were able to distribute these to our employees. We at the Courier are deeply appreciative of the efforts by the Salem Glen Mask Makers.