New Milford family making masks
Easter celebrations across the globe did not resemble those of the past this year.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, stay-at-home and social distancing orders have been put in place, causing individuals and families to find alternative ways to pass the time - and celebrate the holiday.
A New Milford family turned its attention to making masks for those who are without.
“I wanted to do something to help to protect people, especially in New Milford,” said Roxane Lee, owner of Lee Piano Studio in town.
On April 8, she taught herself how to sew on a sewing machine that had been sitting idle in her house for years, except for one prior use.
“I just decided to teach myself to sew, so I took out the manual and figured out how to set up the bobbin and thread the needle,” Lee explained.
She found a mask pattern online and used fabric she purchased from a local store via curbside pickup to get the project going.
After three days, she introduced her daughter, Lorelai Swanek, 16, to sewing.
Together, they planned to produce even more masks.
Lorelai, a junior at Canterbury School in town, immediately picked up the new skills.
“She took off,” Lee said, noting her daughter sewed for nearly eight hours after the first lesson.
“I just wanted to do something to help people,” Lorelai said. “But as I’ve been sewing more, it’s been really fun and good to have something to keep my hands busy.”
She described how sewing is “therapeutic,” especially during these stressful times. “It’s satisfying to watch the seam be sewn.”
Lee’s husband, Frank Swanek, has been contributing, too. He cuts the fabric and helps out with other small tasks, Lorelai said.
After first making 50 masks to donate to the Danbury prison, the family continued making masks.
“We want everyone in New Milford to have a mask, especially if they don't have the means to make or buy one,” said Lee.
Masks were also donated to various organizations. Among them, Loaves and Fishes Hospitality House in town, Camella’s Cupboard and the town’s food bank.
Lorelai is now spearheading the project.
Well more than 150 masks were made as of April 15.
Lee launched a Facebook page, “Masks for New Milford.”
She is accepting request from non-profit organizations and charities that serve the underprivileged.
“We dream of a day when our New Milford community can begin to heal from this pandemic,” she wrote.