The Makery Brings Together Volunteer ‘Mask Makers’ To Give Back To State College Community

The Makery, which normally operates as an arts and crafts studio tucked away on Calder Way, is now making face masks to give back to the State College community amid the coronavirus pandemic.

On any given day, The Makery is full of life, creativity, and excitement. Now, however, it has shifted its mission into making protective face masks for health care and essential worker organizations who are on the frontline fighting the coronavirus. In doing so, it relies heavily on a contingency of volunteers.

They’ve provided free masks to all State College workers and Borough Council, bringing their total to 3500 masks and counting. It all started on the morning of March 21, when an obvious need was brought to the attention of many different volunteers.

“It quickly became evident that there was a local (and national) shortage of [personal protective equipment] and we began to receive questions from our students and their families asking how to make face masks to support their family and potentially to help fill need in the community,” The Makery owner Amy Frank said. “We quickly did research to make sure that creating these masks would be helpful and that there was the local need (which there was).”  

The community quickly rallied together to support workers and demonstrated just how valuable volunteer work can be.

“To date, we have over 450 sewers ranging in age from 8-89. The coolest part is that many of the younger sewers are kids (and their parents) who we taught to sew,” Frank said. “It feels good to have taught them a skill that empowers them to help our community in such a tangible way.”

Courtesy of Amy Frank

Through the creation of the Makery Mask Makers Facebook group, community members have shared resources, sewing tips, and news about their mask-making efforts. In a matter of weeks, the group’s volunteers have quickly bonded together.

On April 27, The Makery continued its efforts by hosting its first-ever “Mask Monday.” Volunteers traveled around the borough and placed masks in trees. The initiative hoped to provide an easy way to get masks to workers while still adhering to social distancing norms.

Courtesy of Amy Frank

Each mask came with a heartfelt message spreading a bit of positivity to recipients.

“Several of our members created ‘mask trees’ with free masks for anyone in the public who did not yet have one,” Frank said. “It was a huge success — all masks were gone within 90 minutes and photos went viral on social media.”

Courtesy of Pamela Holdren

The Makery’s mask-making efforts have caught the attention of numerous TV news outlets and even went relatively viral recently. The Makery is currently discussing launching another Mask Tree Monday event but is looking for new community partners to help expand its reach.

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About the Author

Ryen Gailey

Ryen is a senior early childhood education major from "right outside of Philly" - or in exact words, from 23.0 miles outside of Philly. She loves all things Penn State and has been a huge Penn State gal since before she could walk. Send her pictures of puppies, or hate mail at [email protected]

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