Mask making motivates community

Whitewater Middle School teacher leads local mask production efforts


Courtesy of Sherri Dickinson

Whitewater Middle School special education teacher Sherri Dickinson (right) and her son Justin (left) sew masks to help those working in the local community. Since schools were shut down, she has formed Fayette County Mask Makers consisting of over 350 members. Together they have produced over 6,500 masks and distributed them to various essential workers around Fayette County.

These unprecedented times have led to people yearning to aid our current situation and help the community and essential workers in any way possible. Through the past month of this lockdown, regular citizens have entered the fray in order to do something to help fight against COVID-19. One of these citizens has been Whitewater Middle School special education teacher Sherri Dickinson.

Courtesy of Sherri Dickinson
The Fayette County Mask Makers have used local fabric shop Quilt n’ Fabric as the hub for their operations. Through their combined efforts they have produced over 6,500 masks.

Over the past month, Dickinson has rallied teachers and other members of the community toward her effort of creating masks. According to Dickinson, as of April 17, her group, known as the Fayette County Mask Makers, have produced over 6,500 masks.

“[A woman on the national news] was showing how to make a mask for hospitals and I immediately thought to myself, ‘I could do that.’ My husband came running into the room and said, ‘You could do that’,” Dickinson said. “I thought, ‘Well, I can’t do that by myself. Now I got to figure out what I’m going to do to make that happen on a larger scale.’”

This journey all began when public schools in Fayette County were shut down on March 13. Dickinson was working on lesson plans when she saw a program on TV showing how to create masks. She asked around, and by that Saturday, she was able to get 30 teachers to join her new mission.

So many joined the project that Dickinson could not use her home as a hub anymore. She was able to turn to local shop Quilt n’ Fabric for supplies and mask distribution. Now Quilt n’ Fabric is being used as the main hub.

Mask makers pick up supplies and do the assembly in their own homes. Finished masks are picked up and sent to a drop site. Originally masks were delivered to first responders. With the number of people now making masks, delivery has expanded to health care providers and other local businesses still operating. 

I have never felt more a part of this community than I do now.”

— Sherri Dickinson

“Ironically, I’d lived here for 13 years and I’d never been in [Quilt n’ Fabric] before,” Dickinson said. “It was a perfect place, a perfect idea, a win/win.”

Dickinson has recorded that 6,500 masks have been produced. However, that number does not include masks that others have made from the requested use of supplies, so it is likely the number of masks made is greater than 6,500.

Mask making has been an opportunity for the community to play a part in the battle against the COVID-19 pandemic. Many people have been able to step up thanks to the opportunity presented by Dickinson. She has rallied over 350 people in a common goal that has proven to be successful and a great way to bring the community together.

“I have never felt more a part of this community than I do now. It brought people into my life that are just changing who I am every day,” Dickinson said. “It’s taken 13 years and this to finally drive home [the message] that ‘Hey, Sherri, you live here, and this is home now’.”

If you would like to join the effort, contact Fayette County Mask Makers on Facebook or Quilt n’ Fabric for more information. Donations to help purchase supplies can also be made via telephone (678) 817-7878.