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Sales of homemade masks turn into large donation to food bank

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Masks for donations: these colourful masks were made by Prescott seamstress and quilter Pat Lemaire. She has collected over $1,000 for the colourful, washable masks for the local food bank while helping 600 people stay safe. JOURNAL PHOTO/BURCHELL

Over 600 cotton face masks have been hand crafted by Prescott seamstress and quilter Pat Lemaire. With only one basketful left, she was recently able to make a $1,000 donation to the South Grenville Food Bank.

Lemaire's regular quilting business saw quite a reduction during the recent pandemic. People could not meet with her to choose the materials and design for the custom quilts she makes; it is very difficult to do this business over the internet or by phone she says. With lots of materials and the ability to create, she decided to put her skills to use helping people in her local community.

"I started off doing them for family and friends, then I thought about others who don't sew and with no way to obtain a mask," she says. Her idea started small but soon took off and she has now created over 600 masks in dozens of different patterns and colours.

The news of her idea spread primarily by word of mouth and she quickly had people calling with orders. She accomplished the entire transaction by wrapping the masks and setting them out when she knew someone was coming to pick up. She placed a plastic-wrapped box on her porch for the donation money and the deal was done. She presented the donations to the food bank in varying amounts and the total is now a whopping $1,000.

Lemaire is now working on her last few face masks, having gone through yard after yard of material. They are full coverage from under the chin to the bridge of the nose and have a pocket to insert a barrier of cloth or paper. At the end of the day, simply pop out the barrier and put the mask in the washing machine.

She is humble about her accomplishment and says she didn't do it for recognition. "It just feels great to help out so many people and our local food bank at the same time," she says.

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