Masks made by several dozen community members will be covering the faces of Bowling Green City Schools staff next week.
Sandy Wicks presented district principals and administrators with nearly 1,700 masks Wednesday.
It took 50 sewers about a month to make them, Wicks said.
“When we were all cranking, I think we could probably make … one every 25 minutes,” she said.
The sewers donated their time and used donated material, elastic and thread to make the masks.
Tubs were placed outside Grounds for Thought for donations.
Two women, after reading about the endeavor on social media, bought and donated two sewing machines, Wicks said.
The group made 5,000 masks after the pandemic started in March, and distributed them to hospital personnel, first responders and nursing homes.
“Then we kind of slowed a little,” Wicks said.
When they heard the schools were going to reopen, they got back to work. Bowling Green students are returning for face-to-face classes next week after being out of the classroom since March.
“I put out the word to the ‘super sewers’ and within a month we have almost 1,700 more that we’re giving to schools,” Wicks said.
She said that she first talked to school board member Ginny Stewart and learned more about plans to reopen the school buildings.
“I said I want to get involved and make sure that the teachers and the staff and the bus drivers and the lunchroom people get their masks,” Wicks said.
Stewart provided the list of how many masks were needed in each school building and department.
“We want the staff and the teachers and everybody to be safe,” Wicks said.
Stewart attended the morning presentation, held at the Central Administration Building.
“This is what community looks like,” she said. “This is a big deal.”
Stewart said when Wicks called her, she asked if it was understood how many masks were needed.
“And they didn’t care,” Stewart said. “They asked for no money to do this, it was donated with their time and their treasures ,and we waited and waited and waited for the right time.
“And I was finally able to call Sandy and say it’s time.”
Wicks showed up with 200 more masks than expected, Stewart said.
“I hope this is a sign to our district, our teachers, to our bus drivers, our maintenance people, that people in this community do value you, they treasure you, they care about you,” she said.
Superintendent Francis Scruci said the donation shows the support teachers and staff have in the community.
“This is amazing, to have community people reach out to us and make over 1,400 masks. That’s just incredible,” he said. “People do appreciate what we’re doing. I think it’s really a great statement of our community.”
Bonnie Woods, a former economics teacher, doesn’t sew any more due to a bad shoulder, but she cut material for more than 6,000 masks.
“I needed to have a life,” Woods, who has lived in Bowling Green for 50 years, said about why she got involved. “Because I basically had no life since the first of March.”
Former board member Ellen Dalton said she got involved in the mask project because she knows how to sew and it was something she could do to contribute.
“And it was fun to do,” she said. “I really felt like I was connecting with something, but I always wanted to do anything I can to support the schools so this was perfect.”
Dalton served on the board from 1996-2003.
Middle school Principal Eric Radabaugh said he will distribute the masks to his teachers when they return to the building Tuesday.
“Obviously, this is a way for our community to bless the schools and we appreciate that,” he said, “and it allows our teachers to have extra masks.”
Masks also will be distributed to students who don’t have any.
“We’ll make sure to make them available to both teachers and students, and just make sure everyone is safe and masked up for the hybrid return next week,” Radabaugh said.
This likely isn’t the last batch from these “super sewers.”
“I think we’ll still be (busy) as long as the need is there,” Woods said.