Featured Guest Service Story

Sharon Russell – Masked Opportunity for service

When this COVID lockdown started, I wondered what I was going to do-with myself to keep from going stir crazy. The first week I cleaned out closets, drawers, and old photo albums. (This was going to get old very quickly) Then I saw a post on Facebook  talking about the shortage of face masks and the need for people to make them. Being a retired seamstress with a stash of unused material and elastic, so this was right up my alley! I got started googling mask designs and how to make them.

I knew from the start that this would have to be a labor of love for me. I couldn’t possibly think of charging for them, considering how very blessed that I am and how my financial situation would not change. I saw that various hospitals and organizations were offering supplies if you sewed for them, but I felt led to stay local. So, I started with some family members who are nurses at Mercy Hospital & made my first batch of 100  masks. Then by putting the word out through the

Avon Lake Campus Women’s website I started getting more orders. Nurses at UH, St. John’ Westshore. Staff at Independence Village needed them.

I quickly saw how my supplies weren’t going to last, so I put the word out again. Material, elastic, gift cards started showing up on my front doorstep by friends & church family.  For a while I felt like I was back working full time sewing hours every day.  But those receiving them were so grateful,  the need was growing, and supplies dwindling so I kept sewing. I stopped keeping track after making 830 masks, I am probably over 1000 by now. The need has slowed for the hospital workers now that many companies and factories have started making them. So now I have slowed down and am concentrating on family, friends, my neighbors.

I walk every day at a park & have started carrying a bag of finished masks and ask others if they need one (at a socially acceptable distance of course.) This has been a great way for me to serve others during the lockdown, using the gift God gave me. It certainly kept me from being bored! Plus, being the very social person that I am, I was blessed to see so many people through my storm door as they came to pick up their orders. God met my need for interaction as I met others real needs for a mask and maybe a friendly, smiling face. God can use you wherever you allow Him to lift your sights to a place of service. Jesus said, “I have not come to be served, but to serve…” and that’s the way we should live our lives as well.