After receiving a phone call from her oldest daughter about the lack of masks at the hospital where she worked due to the COVID-19 outbreak, Dida started her research and hit the ground running.
Harvest resident Dida Finch is a self-taught seamstress. A few years back, she wanted to make Dorothy and Toto costumes, so she sat down and taught herself how to sew. Now, she does embroidery and alterations and has her own T-shirt business.
One way she learned her craft was by deconstructing a scrub cap, learning how to make the pattern, and then sewing it back together. She has been making scrub caps for her daughter, Adair, and those in the medical field for a few months now. This superpower has come in handy since the day Adair called and asked if her mom could sew masks.
“I reached out to several hospitals and doctor offices to talk through what was needed and what the CDC said was going to be okay,” Dida said. “Then I formulated what mask, based on those specifications, was going to work and started sewing.”
Dida said she has been nonstop ever since. Once word was out that she was making masks, she almost instantly started receiving large orders. She has been donating masks to local police departments, post offices, doctor offices, and essential workers.
“We have made donations to the Children’s Hospital, non-profits, and Meals on Wheels,” Dida said. “We have had a lot of nursing homes and rehabilitation centers reach out to us, as well.”
With the amount of orders coming in, Dida was going to need help. Luckily, a few neighbors had reached out to see how they could assist her. One neighbor came up with the idea to start a Facebook group to keep messages and orders all in one place. And the Harvest Mask Makers began.
Dida’s quick action to answer her daughter’s call started a domino effect of others wanting to get involved. Within the Harvest Mask Makers group, they have groups sewing masks in Denton, Flower Mound, Coppell, and Colleyville. It is like a large assembly line.
“We have people running to get masks, people are cutting, people are sewing, and people are dropping off materials,” Dida said. “I have kits of 10 for people to pick up to sew and materials for others to cut.”
The masks being made for frontline and essential workers are sewn together using 100% cotton. They have two layers, and one layer open for a filter. They can be put on by elastic bands or tied around the head.
The involvement from the community has been a huge help and very humbling at the same time. Dida said it isn’t just her generation that has stepped up but teenagers who are also recognizing the need and lending a helping hand.
Dida’s teenage daughter, Reigha, and several others sew about 50 masks a day. She said it’s incredible to see selflessness from everyone involved.
“Our country is going through this devastating time, but it’s about more than just one person,” Dida said. “I feel like we have become desensitized, and we forget how these rising numbers really affect our communities, our churches, and states.”
Dida said that for her, it is about helping someone and keeping others healthy. She believes her neighborhood, Harvest, is like a huge family. And the sense of community has been heightened even more.
“Hopefully this causes the country to get closer,” Dida said. “Hopefully, it brings people together to help others.”
The Harvest Mask Makers are selflessly donating masks, and as of early May, the group has made over 8,600 masks!
If you would like to donate, or learn how to make a mask, visit www.Facebook.com/CDFinch4.