Now that everyone– and by “everyone” I mean normal, non-selfish boneheads — understands the importance of wearing masks, Westport Masks is busier than ever.
For many weeks the ad hoc group has made masks, then donated them to front line personnel and those in need. Recipients include Westport’s Public Works, Parks & Recreation and highway departments; Westport Post Office; elderly residents through Westport’s Department of Human Services; Open Door Shelter in Norwalk; Food Rescue US; Thomas Merton Family Center in Bridgeport; Stamford Hospice, Norwalk Hospital and more.
Dozens of folks cut, sew and deliver. But all involved agree, one volunteer truly stands out.
Ellen Landowne heard about Westport Masks in March through “06880,” and was one of the first to step forward.
Since then she has been a core team member. She’s made masks for many — including seniors — and raised funds for food pantries (through sales to the public, at $12 each).
Pretty good for anyone. Particularly for someone who — like Ellen — is 85 years young.
Ellen came to Westport in 1967 with her husband Bob Landowne. They were married for 59 years, until his death in 2017. Their 3 children — Deborah, Steve and Judy — all graduated from Staples High School.
After graduating from Mount Holyoke College and then New York-Presbyterian Columbia University Medical Center, Ellen became a registered nurse. She stopped working when her children were in school.
In what she calls her “second, ‘unpaid’ career,” Ellen got involved with the Girl Scouts. Funding came from 8 United Ways. She volunteered with the Westport-Weston group as a “foot soldier,” then joined the board. Eventually, she was named United Way of Westport and Weston’s first female president.
Ellen also served on the board of the Mid-Fairfield Child Guidance Center.
And at age 55, she received her private pilot certificate. She flew with Bob as far as Florida and Ontario.
The masks Ellen and her fellow volunteers make have 2 layers of 100% cotton. They’re washable, with a filter pocket for added protection. They have neck ties too, so they can be worn all the time.
Masks can be ordered at $12 each through firstname.lastname@example.org. All proceeds go to local food pantries, and to purchase supplies for more masks.
Volunteers are always needed. Organizers say: “If you have a working sewing machine, can sew in a straight line and can follow a pattern, we could use your help. Fabric cutting is also greatly appreciated.” Email email@example.com.
Their next project: In preparation for return to school, the group is making children’s masks for families who cannot afford disposable ones.
(Hat tip: Virginia Jaffe)