By Clairissa Cooper
It was nearly 3 a.m. before Savannah Boyd finally went to bed. It was a heart for service that carried her through working into the late night hours. Savannah sewed her 500th face mask on May 5, which fortuitously fell on North Texas Giving Day.
What began with making masks for her family and friends with remnants and scraps of materials from home quickly turned into supplying masks for essential personnel in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex.
Savannah’s father, Shay, works for a distributor that supplies vendors in food production, including affiliates of Kroger. With growing demand at grocery stores came greater need for employees at Shay’s work to support that effort and do so safely, with all employees wearing masks. That’s when Shay made his daughter an offer – he would provide fabric and materials if she would make masks for his co-workers.
Shay came home with 18 yards of fabric and another nine donated a few days later.
“I worked endlessly to get [the face masks] out quickly and ended up pulling a few all-nights,” said Savannah, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Flower Mound. “I set up my desk with my sewing machine and my grandma’s Kenmore serger. Equipped with hours of Netflix and Hulu, loads of Dr. Pepper and miles of white thread, I sewed and sewed and sewed some more!”.
The same problem that has faced other mask makers also became an issue for Savannah. Where to find elastic for the ear loops? A nationwide shortage of elastic has caused innovative thinkers to come up with new solutions. It took a little outside-the-box thinking for Shay to come up with an answer – yoga pants.
While walking through Walmart, Shay found yoga pants with stretchy, inexpensive material and brought it home for Savannah to try.
“I was really skeptical and thought the material would fray or wouldn’t hold up, said Savannah. “But it turns out that it works perfectly! They’ve been washed and hold up very well.”
Not only did the fabric work well, it proved more comfortable and better protection for delicate skin around the ears. One of Shay’s co-workers saw the masks and asked if he could have one while showing his bleeding ears from wearing a standard issue mask for long periods of time. He was able to wear the yoga ear loop mask the entire day without any pain.
“My whole family has been so gung-ho about this project and have been so supportive. I feel incredibly glad to have the opportunity to use my time, skills, and resources to help my community,” said Savannah, who recently graduated from Brigham Young University – Idaho in public health. She is seeking a job in the healthcare industry and has plans to apply to nursing school.
In addition to the food production facility workers, masks were also donated to Miles of Freedom, a non-profit organization, and were passed out by Savannah’s grandmother when feeding the homeless.
“As long as there is a need, I plan to keep going,” said Savannah.
Face masks are needed around the DFW metroplex and more details on how to donate can be found on justserve.org