Ponoka resident Dean Fraser has taken it upon herself to make as many face masks as possible and is donating 100 per cent of the proceeds to the Ponoka Food Bank.
Years ago, she sewed everything for her family and has brought out her sewing machine once again — this time to serve her community.
“I just wanted to do something that made me feel good, that would benefit someone in the community and I love sewing,” said Fraser.
She added she also wanted to contribute to a good cause, which is why she’s chosen to donate the proceeds to the Ponoka Food Bank.
She was looking for a way to feel connected to the community again. Although she lives in Ponoka, she worked out of town for a number of years, and says she’s lost touch with local people since her daughters were in school. Fraser is now on disability retirement.
She has bought some fabric out-of-pocket, and has had some donated, including some from Daisy Dot’s Quilting and Crafts.
She is selling her masks for $10 each, and the full $10 will be given to the food bank.
When researching the most effective kind of mask, she found differing views.
Her masks are made from a pattern she got off the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) website. They have a pocket for a disposable filter and an adjustable nose piece.
She uses tightly-woven cotton fabric as recommended.
Suggested filter materials she’s heard of include coffee filters, shop paper towels, or a sturdy paper towel. Fraser reminds people that the filters should be thrown in the garbage and not put into the compost bin, as they are a potential bio-hazard.
She makes masks in all sizes, for adults and children.
Fraser started making masks around the end of March and has made over 300, far surpassing her original goal.
She kept going when she saw the demand — she can’t keep any stock and she has a three-page waiting list.
“I had a goal when I began, but when I saw how much need there was, my goal keeps moving.”
Fraser says people are hurting being out of work and some are needing help with food more now.
She recently bought groceries for a person in need, and the person remarked it had been a long time since they’d had meat in their house.
“It seems to me that when somebody else’s cup is empty and mine is full, that I should be able to share.”
Fraser says she’s happy to fill any order, large or small — she just wants to help. She does what she can, working for a couple of hours at a time before needing to rest due to her health.
Orders have come in locally, as well as around the province. She’s had orders from Red Deer, and shipped 30 to Peace River, and filled an order for 10 to Fort Saskatchewan.
Fraser has set up a no-contact pickup for mask orders. To order, message her on Facebook or text 403-357-4390.
Fraser has also set up a jigsaw puzzle exchange in her driveway in 46 St., which has now turned into a jigsaw puzzle and board game exchange.
Ponoka business Amber’s Alterations is now also taking orders for face masks. To order, message the Facebook page.
A Hutterite colony recently donated handmade masks to Ponoka Family and Community Support Services (FCSS), which they distributed to their clients.