By Mike Renzella
The Haldimand Press
CAYUGA—Kathy Evans is on a mission to help her community. As the COVID-19 pandemic swept through Haldimand, Evans decided to utilize a life-long skill to find a way to make a meaningful contribution in a time of need. With help from her sister, she has sewn more masks than she can track at this point, with funds going towards a worthy local cause.
“I’m from the Haldimand area. I grew up here; my parents had a farm,” explained Evans. “Back in mid-March somebody had sent me a pattern online and I figured I’d give it a whirl. I’ve been sewing since I was a teenager so that part wasn’t hard for me. I’ve sewn dance costumes for my daughter.”
At the time, PPE was scarce as people were panic buying supplies wherever they could find them: “You couldn’t get masks and people needed them. Once I started making them and posted a couple of them, people started asking for them. I went to my boss (at Cayuga Home Hardware) and said, ‘Why don’t we try selling these and maybe donate the funds?’”
Her boss was open to the idea, and together they brainstormed on where to donate any funds they may raise from selling the masks at the store.
“We came up with the fire department. They’re volunteer. They don’t get lots of money in unless they do fundraising themselves. They are frontline workers. People are donating to food banks, making PPE for hospitals, nursing homes, and things like that, and I thought ‘these are the guys that need it first’.”
Evans wasn’t prepared for how popular her masks would end up being.
“There was a need. If I didn’t feel there was a need, or it fizzled, I wouldn’t have done it, but I did it to support the community,” said Evans. “I didn’t know that it was going to explode into what it did, but it did. People kept coming in; it’s something we needed. I attribute it to my mother. My mother is an 86-year-old volunteer with Meals on Wheels and has always done things like that. She’s always been involved in her community.”
When asked how many of her masks are out there, Evans says at least a couple thousand at this point.
“It’s kind of crazy working full time and then coming home at night and sewing masks until one or two in the morning and then getting up and going to work the next day,” said Evans.
Perhaps it is a little crazy, but it is also a perfect example of the many small, meaningful ways we can come together as a community in times like this and support one another. Evans’ masks are available for purchase at the Home Hardware location in Cayuga. Her next project is sewing poppy masks to benefit the Cayuga Legion in time for Remembrance Day.