Masks are being made by volunteers to be available to everyone in Cowichan who wants one. (file photo)

Mask the Valley project aims to make sure all Cowichan residents are covered

Mask the Valley has already made 2,000 scrub caps and more than 3,000 masks and ear savers

In an effort to reduce the transmission of COVID-19, Volunteer Cowichan, in partnership with COVID Action Cowichan, is launching the Mask the Valley project.

Mask the Valley is offering residents of the Cowichan Valley access to a finished non-medical mask, mask materials and facilitators to help large groups make their own masks and information on how to safely wear masks — all for free.

They are off to a good start. Mask the Valley volunteers have already made 2,000 scrub caps and more than 3,000 masks and ear savers that have been distributed out to the community. A collaborating group, the Maskateers, has made more than 2,000 masks for local First Nations communities.

The dedicated sewing volunteers have been liberating excess material from Cowichan Valley linen cupboards to meet the high demand, and Fabricland has offered a bulk discount to help stretch cash donations.

Donations of 100 per cent cotton, and cash donations to buy material are needed to reach their goal.

While personal protection is foremost, the virtual sewing circles help volunteers develop their skills and support each other through the pandemic. They have a lot of fun, too. Sewing circles and social media conversations have many making new friends and finding ways to keep that human connection at a time when we must physically distance.

Project coordinator, Gayle Hurmuses, recognizes that education on how to correctly use a mask, and helping people feel comfortable wearing one, is an important part of the project.

“We would like to promote a culture of mask wearing and awareness of the value of mask wearing in the community,” she said.

Mask the Valley is seeking more volunteers, partnerships and funding to support their goal.

You do not need to know how to sew to volunteer; either they will help you learn, or you could help with coordinating projects, technical communications, promotions, general errands and resourcing materials.

Contact Mask the Valley at covidactioncowichan@gmail.com or find the group on Facebook at ‘Mask the Valley’ if you want to volunteer.

Contact Volunteer Cowichan at https://volunteercowichan.bc.ca/ or through CanadaHelps.org to make a donation, identifying “Mask the Valley” to target your donation to this project.

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