At the start of the pandemic, Hannah Warren wanted to help make and distribute face masks for her community. As an executive director at the non-profit organization Jhoole, which employs women in India within the garment industry, she thought this was the perfect opportunity to give the women a project to work on. But, when shipping restrictions got in the way, she came up with a creative solution.
Hannah decided to instead ask for volunteers in her community to help her make masks. At the time, she set a lofty goal of sewing 10,000 masks in two months. Much to her surprise, the volunteer roster quickly started to fill up and she had nearly 200 people working toward the goal.
As more and more volunteers signed up, they all got to know each other and work together to share supplies like fabric, thread, and elastic. The volunteers came from all walks of life, and even included some essential workers who somehow managed to find time between shifts to sew masks.
It really brought the community together to help fight the spread of the coronavirus. Hannah told a local news outlet, “We’re connecting with other people that I might not have ever met and now we’re building friendships and we’re reaching out to each other and it’s a support system.”
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By the time the initiative closed on May 31, the group not only met their goal of 10,000 masks – but they surpassed it. The final count came to 13,355 masks.
The final mask count is amazing in and of itself, but Hannah knows that their initiative reached far beyond 13,355 people. She said, “Now that we know that masks can contain the virus, if somebody was infected and put on that mask, it could have halted an exponential spread. It would have stopped them from passing it on to one person who would pass it on to another person and so on.”
Hannah is proof that one person can create a big change in their community. Share her story as a reminder that one idea or small gesture can have a wide-reaching ripple effect.
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