Chloe, age 9, uses newfound sewing talent to create face masks to reduce spread of the coronavirus
Shielded behind a fabric face mask, the big smile of a little helper shines through the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic. Nine-year-old Chloe, who finds respite at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Muncie, is doing her part to support her community in central Indiana by sewing face coverings to reduce spread of the coronavirus.
Sometimes, Chloe is so glued to the sewing machine that Club staff gently remind her to share it with other children. In finding a way to help, Chloe has also discovered a new talent that she loves.
“Chloe has realized that she has something to give and offer to others,” said Jason Newman, CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of Muncie. “It’s incredible to see her take pride in doing something for another rather than feel like everyone is always doing something for her.”
Boys & Girls Clubs of Muncie is open solely for children whose caregivers must report to work as healthcare providers, emergency personnel, food distributors and other essential services. Because Chloe’s parents are incarcerated, her grandmother has few options to ensure she stays safe while schools are closed.
Seventy-nine percent of Boys & Girls Clubs of Muncie’s regular members live with someone other than two parents, and 44 percent live with a single parent. The Club sites are located in underserved, impoverished areas of Muncie that are plagued by drug and crime issues, Jason said.
The Club is serving almost 20 kids during the pandemic, and capacity is limited to 30 youth so they can maintain a safe distance from each other. For regular Club members that can stay at home, staff are calling to check in and even deliver bottled water, diapers and groceries.
Using the single sewing machine that belongs to a Club staff member, youth have sewed 63 masks in the first weeks of the new project. Each child fashioned the mask that they are wearing at the Club, and the remaining masks from the initial batch were donated to the Youth Opportunity Center, a juvenile detention center and residential treatment center for at-risk youth in Muncie.
In early April, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended that individuals wear masks to cover their mouths in grocery stores, pharmacies and other public settings where it’s difficult to maintain social distancing, or a 6-foot separation between people. As more masks are completed, the Club hopes to donate them to an indigent health clinic and elderly individuals in neighborhoods near the Club.
Kevin Holland, a board member for Boys & Girls Clubs of Muncie and a Club alumnus, said this is a critical time for giving back to the community that typically does so much to support the Club. The Club is also seizing opportunities to teach kids to care for one another.