By Kayla Ellis, Contributing Writer
Wearing a mask is one of the best ways to prevent contracting and spreading the coronavirus, per guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Mask-wearing is part of our responsibility as community members to protect others from sickness.
While many settle for store-bought masks, there are some members of the Gettysburg College community that have found a way to make protective face coverings that are both safe and fun.
Director of Multicultural Programming and Outreach, Monique Gore, has gone above and beyond crafting homemade masks. Using techniques she learned from her grandmother, Gore began hand-sewing face masks out of sturdy, yet breathable, fabric.
Although the masks were originally intended for her friends, Gore always kept Gettysburg students in mind. “For every three I made for a friend, I made two for students [for] once they returned [to campus],” Gore said. “Around July, I stopped making them for friends and started making them exclusively for when students returned to campus.”
Gore’s masks stand out due to a few of their distinctive features, including their matching earrings and African print designs.
“In a day and time when your face is covered, individualism means everything,” Gore said. “Why not look as good as you can and be safe during a pandemic?”
Gore also provides these masks for free; she believes that people should not have to pay for something necessary to keep them healthy. In her early days of making masks, she only asked that a donation be made to cover the cost of shipping. Soon, all donations went to purchasing more fabric for student masks.
Lacey Weynand ‘22 is another member of the community who dedicated her time and energy to providing handmade masks to family and friends during this pandemic. Like many people, Weynand struggled to find affordable masks that made her feel safe. Her homemade masks are made using three layers of cotton, elastic, and a filter in order to ensure protection from COVID-19.
Instead of basing her designs on the basic surgical masks, Weynand uses fun prints and patterns that are individual to the wearer. “The mask is an extension of the ways people can express themselves. Sure, using a standard blue surgical mask works, but people seem to enjoy taking advantage of the situation to wear masks that complement their outfits or show their personal interests,” Weynand said.
She also views her masks as a way to show her love for her friends. “They loved being involved in customizing [them]. It was a bonding thing, too, because I put time and love into making my friend’s masks, and often gave them as gifts.”
Members of the Gettysburg community, along with communities around the nation, have a commitment to preventing the spread of COVID-19 through preventative measures like wearing masks. Gore and Weynand are excellent examples of how to combine creativity and safety during this unusual fall semester.