QUINCY — Quincy’s three Kiwanis clubs have joined forces to do what they do best — support children — by providing masks to Adams County schools.
“We serve the children of the world, so now we’re serving the children of Adams County and doing our part,” said Joanne Dedert, past president of Quincy Noon Kiwanis, who chairs the Mask-Up Project with John Venegoni of Quincy Golden K. “We now have 15,000 masks to make, and that will be a labor of love.”
The clubs partnered with SewEssentials to make the masks which will be distributed to all schools in Adams County from pre-kindergarten to John Wood Community College and Quincy University hopefully by Christmas.
The project provides one way to help combat COVID fatigue, said Linda Moore with SewEssentials, a network of volunteers working to serve and protect the community through production and distribution of personal protective equipment.
“Masks need to be laundered and changed out as they tend to wear out, and not everyone can afford to purchase several masks. If we can provide them with a new fun mask, whenever they might be in greatest need, it gives them something to be happy about,” Moore said. “If we can keep our school children protected so our children and teachers can stay in school it benefits everybody.”
A Kiwanis One Day event focused on making masks will be held from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 24 in the Quincy Mall Community Room and the former Fred Meyer Jewelers. Plans call for making regular cloth masks and ones with clear vinyl that people can use to read lips — with all volunteers wearing masks and maintaining social distance.
“It’s a family-friendly event,” Dedert said. “You can come and say I’ve only got an hour. I’ll take that hour. In an hour, if we went start to finish, we probably make five masks.”
All ages are welcome to participate, and no sewing experience is necessary.
“If you can use a ruler and make a straight line with a pen or pencil, then we have a job for you, or if you can press or fold or walk from one table to another to move the assembly line along, “ Moore said. “You don’t have to have any experience whatsoever to be able to help.”
But the community already can lend a hand to support the project.
“We can’t make 15,000 masks in one day,” Dedert said.
So club members began working 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays, 1 to 4 p.m. Sundays and 4 to 7 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays in the community room. The clubs, including Gem City Breakfast Kiwanis, also are getting help from the Kiwanis Builder’s Club, Key Club, Aktion Club and Circle K.
“We need people to join us,” Dedert said. “We know that there are community members out there that are going to get excited, and have already gotten excited, and want to volunteer. There’s other folks who need service hours, like parochial schools, and this is a great time for them to get those service hours.”
The project welcomes donations of buttons, sewing machines, irons and Ziploc bags as well as 80 to 100% cotton fabric.
“Maybe Grandma just recently passed, and Grandma was a sewer, a quilter, and (had) all this fabric. We’ll take it,” Dedert said. “If you’re cleaning out your closet, T-shirts, sheets, pillowcases make great masks. Nice slacks make great backing for masks.”
One yard of fabric will make 10 masks, Dedert said, so the project will need 1,500 yards. The clubs estimate they have gotten about 100 yards donated and ready and another 100 yards in the process of being washed, pressed and cut.
Monetary donations to the project provide other needed items including scissors and vinyl.
Dedert hopes to see the project grow beyond serving only children.
“I’d love to give anybody a mask,” she said. “We’re hoping if we get more done, we’ll be able to do that, but we have to fill our orders first.”
How to donate
Donations for the Kiwanis Mask-Up project may be dropped off at Emerald City Jewelers, 3236 Broadway; Liberty Bank, 4134 Broadway; SERVPRO of Quincy, 2808 Ellington Road and Edward Jones, 126 N. 30th, Suite 104.
More information, or arranging for a donation to be picked up, is available by calling project co-chairs Joanne Dedert at 217-242-1425 or John Venegoni at 217-430-2234.