This is Jen Murphy, one of the founders of Masks of Love. We started last March with a handful of people who didn't even know each other yet, joining forces to get as many face masks into local hands as we could, as fast as we could. The shortage was severe and the response incredible. With hundreds of volunteers, a powerful core group, and generous donations of money, materials, and skills, those initial efforts put well over 6000 masks into our community. I was the volunteer coordinator, fabric bundle-er, and website builder, among many hats.
As the spring turned to summer we realized this pandemic wasn't going anywhere and the pace of demand was burning people out. In June we changed gears. With a team of 3 from the volunteer phase, Sara, Casey and Amy, the project was relaunched as an enterprise. The aim was to keep providing masks to people in Western NC while providing income to staff and sewers. This worked well for 6 months, with sales of more than 1500 masks, income for 10 people, and still providing close to 2000 donated masks, via the Buy 1/Give 1 model.
Now we are changing gears again. As of January 1, the 2.0 team is retiring and handing it back to me. Sara, Casey and Amy have other jobs which picked up again over the summer and fall. They have been doing quite a juggling act to keep up. I am ready to take it on as a one woman show (plus sewing help), simplifying operations. The Buy 1/Give 1 will continue and hopefully expand. I am proud of all the places we've reached so far.
I've been updating the website and store. I'm excited about the business orders coming in, including Curate Tapas Bar and Squarepeg Construction. And we have a new retailer - Southern States. Pick up your chicken scratch and a mask at the same time! Reach out on on the new For Businesses page for info on how you can get professional looking, locally made masks on your crew.
I'm hoping 2021 will put us out of business with the vaccine, but meanwhile let's wash our hands and wear our masks!
Masks of Love WNC
was created in Western North Carolina in March 2020 as a response to our community shortage of PPE in the face of Covid 19. We created an all volunteer effort to get cloth masks into the hands of those that needed them most. Now, Masks of Love has grown into a business that is providing local jobs while staying committed to our mission of donating masks to our under-served neighbors. We have donated almost 10, 000 masks since we began. Learn more about our community partners here.