In the first frightening days after COVID-19 brought Westport — and the world — to a locked-down, uncertain halt, a group of women found a way to help.
In a month, they made over 1,000 masks — and gave them all away.
Recipients included Westport’s Public Works, Parks & Recreation and Highway departments; the post office; elderly residents; Open Door Shelter in Norwalk; Food Rescue US; Thomas Merton Family Center in Bridgeport; Stamford Hospice, Norwalk Hospital and more.
Then they pivoted. “Westport Masks” — a name as simple as their generosity was boundless — continued to donate to frontline and vulnerable groups. But they also created masks for friends, family, children and the general public.
In return for small financial donations, the women used 100% of the funds to buy supplies. They suggested $10 — but they never let anyone go without a mask if they needed one.
They’ve been going strong every since.
But nearly a year later — with masks readily available, vaccines available and the hope of some normalcy some time ahead — Westport Masks is closing down.
Their legacy: over 5,600 masks made, $2,500 donated to local food pantries, and 5,000 meals funded.
“Closing Westport Masks is bittersweet,” say co-founders Virginia Jaffe and Marisa Zer.
“Our mask making journey is ending, but it also means that hope is on the horizon. We will have a small team of volunteers continuing to make masks for charitable donations only, until our supplies run out.
“Everything Westport Masks achieved over the last 10 months was due to the generosity of local residents, coupled with the generosity of time and skills given by over 20 Westport volunteers, cutting, sewing and delivering so many masks,” the founders say.
“This endeavor not only helped our community, but also provided an amazing distraction from the chaos of the pandemic. It gave everyone who helped a sense of taking back some control over an uncontrollable situation.”
Westport Masks is selling their final stock of 2-layer, quality cotton, adjustable masks with a removable neck strap. A variety of styles are ready for pickup, in large, medium and kids’ sizes.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org for details; pay by Venmo or with cash at pickup.