Okanagan woman stitches mask scraps into COVID-19 memory quilt

Senior and husband have made more than 2,000 masks for local company

Okanagan woman stitches mask scraps into COVID-19 memory quilt

As the demand for face masks began to ease, Vernon resident Sarah Wilson looked at her pile of scraps wondering what she could do with them.

Wilson, 74, has been making masks for the local company Safe Shields since April, when the demand spiked due to COVID-19.

”Sarah and her husband, Bruce (79), are on a limited income and both have worked hard to supply about 2,000 fabric face masks,” friend Sherri Piechnik said. “While Sarah cuts and sews all the fabric, Bruce helps cut twill for the ties as well as cutting and shaping pipe cleaners for the nose bridge.”

Sales have slowed but it didn’t take Sarah long to decide what to do with the loads of scraps left over from making the masks. Being an avid quilter she decided to turn her scraps into a Covid memory quilt.

Sarah was hired Kim Shippam, owner of Caufields Engraving who had to close her shop due to COVID-19, but then started Safe Shields.

Safe Shields was created as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic. After Shippam was forced to shut down her two businesses during the lock down in March 2020, she was at home keeping her eye on the latest news, when she saw a broadcast about 3D printed face shields. A born innovator with a strong background in laser printing, engraving and assemblage, Shippam knew she could create a ‘better face shield’ and soon got to work.

After creating eight prototypes at her warehouse in Vernon, she had a face shield ready to ship. She quickly put the word out that she had a strong desire to help Canada and its front line workers. Soon orders were flying in and instead of laying off employees, Shippam was hiring over 50 more people from the Vernon area.

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