When the Covid-19 pandemic hit the world, Virgin Islands resident Denise Carson made it her goal to ensure that everyone in need of a face mask was able to get one.
Her “one-man band” recently passed the 3,000 mark.
“There were none available on island and no fabric available,” Ms. Carson explained about how she got started sewing the masks. “But I sew all my clothes, so I had a lot of dress fabric. I cut up all of my fabric to make masks. That’s why there were so many colourful floral masks on island.”
Her hand-crafted, reversible masks often feature rainbows of tropical flowers, paw prints, sailing ships and other fun patterns.
Ms. Carson provides masks to CharterPort BVI, but she also donates many of the masks she sews to the BVI Humane Society and PAW BVI so the nonprofit organisations can make money to support their daily operations.
Her most recent undertaking was turning out hundreds of masks for students returning to their classrooms at St. George’s Primary School.
Ms. Carson said she was glad to find some way of giving back to the community during a challenging time.
“I love all animals, and I thought if I could do something to generate income it was a win-win situation,” she said.
Sewing on the seas
Ms. Carson, who is currently retired, said she never had much of an interest in crafting, but she has carried her sewing machine with her wherever she went while sailing the seas.
“I would sit on my deck and repair sails and recover upholstery,” she said. “I feel very fortunate that I have a skill that can contribute to helping other people, and I will continue as long as there’s a need for masks.”
Part of the reason she wanted to offer the masks for free or through a non-profit was because she recognised that many residents recently lost their jobs and struggled to afford necessities.
“It’s really simple to put a mask on, and if this helps stop the spread of this virus then you just need to do it,” she added.
But just because the masks are a necessity doesn’t mean they have to be drab: She said one of the aspects of crafting the masks she enjoys most is working with bright, creative patterns.
Many people have asked how they can support her mask-making efforts after learning about her project, Ms. Carson said.
But she asks only that others pay the kindness forward in some way, be it donating to a food bank or volunteering with a nonprofit.
She encourages people in need of a mask for themselves or their children to contact her directly through Facebook Messenger or at email@example.com.