The Times - Serving Waitsburg, Dayton and the Touchet Valley

By Beka Compton
the Times 

One Waitsburg family has sewn 1,200 cloth masks and counting

Donations of elastic are needed


Courtesy Photo

A small sample of the completed masks that the Winchester family has sent out to help protect people against the coronavirus.

WAITSBURG-Twelve hundred is a big number, especially when it is the 'projects completed and donated' tally. That is the number of cloth face masks that Skip and Lois Winchester, of Waitsburg, have sewn with the help of a few family members. Now, they are asking for the community's help finding elastic for the last 200 or so masks.

"It's been a lot of fun," said Lois. "The family time has been very nice, especially during these times." Lois, who is a sewer by trade, said that the roughly 1,400 masks have been sewn on three different machines and finished on a serger.

While the majority of the masks have already been given away to friends and family, there are at least 200 unfinished masks waiting on elastic before they can be put to work.

Skip and Lois, along with family members Mickey and Tawnya Richards and Chris Richards, have enjoyed sewing and distributing the masks to friends, family, and frontline workers who need the protection during the pandemic. Their masks have been sent as far away as Germany, where grandson Kyle Martin is stationed with the U.S Army.

"We sent some masks all the way to Brooklyn. A good friend of ours is a captain there, and we sent some over for the EMTs in the department," Skip said.

According to Lois, each of the family members have their own tasks. Lois and her daughter-in-law Tawnya have been busy sewing the physical masks, using cotton fabric. Mickey has spent a fair amount of time sewing elastic on the masks.

"Chris has been busy cooking for us. She doesn't really like it, but she's pretty good at it," Lois said, while laughing. "No one is getting skinny." Chris has also been helping sew elastic on the masks.

As for Skip, he is the self-proclaimed 'gofer guy.'

"I go out for materials and donations, and I deliver masks," he said.

The mask making and distributing has been brought to a standstill until the family is able to get more elastic. They are turning to the community for help, as they have been unable to find elastic 1" and smaller anywhere across the country. Lois says that ¼'' elastic is preferred, but they have been cutting larger widths down to make it work.

With spring cleaning in full swing, the family is asking for any elastic or cotton fabric that people can donate. If you have 1" or smaller-width elastic to donate please call Skip and Lois at (503)-869-2376 and drop-off or pick-up can be arranged.


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