May 6, 2020

Spark Note: One Mask at A Time

Tags: Teen Voice


Ariella and her mom Celia are the recipients of a generous Making Jewish Places Microgrant, an initiative of the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta, which enabled them to assemble ready-to-sew mask kits consisting of pre-cut fabric, elastic, thread and needles. To date, they’ve distributed materials for over 1,300 masks. In addition, they’ve donated over 150 masks — some of which were donated to The Cohen Home and local healthcare workers.  

Hello! I am Ariella, an 8th grader from Suwanee, GA. 

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit Georgia, my mom and I were concerned about how we would obtain masks. Masks were sold out! None to be found.  My mom joined Geekspace’s initiative to sew fabric face and help anyway she could. Many of our friends and family from as far as New York, desperately needed our masks. After sewing a few masks we realized that we couldn’t sew the mask fast enough to keep up with the demand. There had to be another way. We thought about assembling ready-to-sew mask kits for others and they could sew masks too! These mask kits allow us to help those in need, and allow the recipients to have a fun new project to do! But we faced a major obstacle, funding. 

Earlier this year our congregation, Congregation Gesher L’Torah was awarded a Microgrant to sponsor a Camp Shabbat program.  It was so much fun to see the metro Atlanta Jewish community gather together to celebrate Shabbat with Jewish camp friends. Thinking back on that event made us realize that, that microgrant is what we needed to help make this mask initiative a reality.

We reached out to Carla Birnbaum, the Community Impact Associate for the Making Jewish Places Microgrant program.  She was enthusiastic to join in our mission to provide fabric face masks to anyone who needed one. This project not only gives masks to those in need, but it  “frees-up” the hospital-grade masks for the healthcare workers.

This grant allowed us to make this project an even bigger reality! Til now, we’ve assembled kits to sew over 1,300 masks!  We will keep on doing so until we use up our grant funds.  If the need is still great after the “shelter-in-place” order is lifted, we will use our stimulus check to continue our mission.  We are determined to help everyone we can! To learn more about our initiative and how you can receive a mask head to our website!

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