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Mask Donations Are a Labor of Love for Duo

Carlos Rodriguez

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MODESTO – Two local residents who share a passion of sewing and quilting are calling a project to benefit a school and the general public a labor of love.

It all started with a question, or curiosity for Katrina Gomez and Katherine Womack-McCasland. The two wanted to do something to help local students during the pandemic. Gomez who is an avid quilter and Womack-McCasland already had a sewing machine, so the answer quickly became clear.

“It’s so hard to find a sewing machine right now,” Gomez said. She already had a good amount of fabric on hand, so the two set out to design and produce as many facemasks as they could.

In good time, the two made enough masks to donate to Wilson Elementary School. The masks were blue and gold, the school’s colors.

“The reception was welcoming in the sense that it’s something that’s needed,” Womack-McCasland said.

The two also made an additional batch of masks for staff at the school. The production didn’t end there, the two have made additional face coverings in different designs that they plan to offer to students as well.

“This gives the kids a chance to pick something that is individual to them, something that they like,” Gomez said.

The two also donated 300 handmade face coverings to English Oaks Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, and another 200 to Modesto Specialty Hospital. The two estimate that in total they have produced at least 1500 masks.

The masks are individually sanitized and sealed for safety, and the two are more concerned with helping people stay safe than making a profit.

“Making money is always awesome, but giving them away and helping is more rewarding,” Gomez said.

The two have their favorite styles, with Gomez looking for vintage type fabrics and Womack-McCasland liking sequin style masks.

“They’re difficult to make but fun to see out and about.”

The two are hoping the project teaches children a lesson in giving to others and paying it forward.

So what’s next for the duo? They hope to raise funds to produce and give a yearbook to every student at the elementary school.

Carlos Rodriguez is an Emmy Award winning photojournalist specializing in public safety and natural disasters. His passion for local news stems from a deep commitment to his community, with a selfless mission to inform the citizens of the valley. As he worked on assignment for 19 days at the devastating Camp Fire in Paradise, California, he spent most of his time helping survivors contact their loved ones to let them know they were ok. Carlos is a veteran of Univision, FOX, and Telemundo TV stations and a native of Modesto, California.

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