How a community rallied together to make masks for themselves!
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A little seaside community spent countless hours making masks for health professionals and people in need!


Kenton-on-Sea, South Africa (29 October 2020) – What do we need? We need masks!!! It took just one message on the Kenton-on-Sea Community Chat group to rally the troops!

This is a beautiful story of Ubuntu from a little South African seaside community filled with Coastal Kindness!

Just one message on 1 April 2020 (and it wasn’t a joke) to call for volunteers to make masks.

“If you have a sewing machine and are keen to get involved in helping to sew face masks for the health professionals, please let me know, and I will set up a group to share ideas and processes.
Basic materials will be provided. We just need willing hands and an ability to sew,” said Lydia.

Fifty-three people responded to the call to arms and ‘Let’s Make Masks’ was created. What was needed next was some expertise to get the protection and design features correct. Luckily, some pretty smart people live in this area of the Eastern Cape, so in no time at all, patterns were created, appropriate cotton-only material donated (mainly thanks to Cecelia), elastic sourced, et voilà!

Runners were needed to deliver materials to the mask makers and then in a few days collect the completed masks. A whole workforce was mobilised. Father Christmas’s elves had nothing on this lot. And in line with safety protocols, all the masks had to be sanitised for release into the community.

By 6 April the old-age home had received 64 masks for staff and residents. Shortly after, the only doctor in town got 25 for herself and her staff, and 240 were delivered to the local clinic and SAPS. And that was just the beginning.

By 7 April, a depot had been created in a passageway belonging to one of the local shops, Beachways; people coming into town could drop their bags of mask and sanitising could take place in an orderly fashion. Nan, the owner of Beachways, took control of the stock and created a hub for the project. She also started selling some of the masks to very willing customers to generate revenue to restock materials. It’s hard to imagine now, seven months later, but at that time there was not a readily available supply of masks for everyone and people were very happy to purchase these locally made ones.

Over the course of the next few months, 3 800 masks were donated to essential services and the community at large. In addition, another 500 kiddies’ masks were made specifically for the schools.

An energy coursed through town as the elf network extended itself. A scissor sharpener was required, and Lee stepped up to the mark. Gert was dusted off and put to good use again, repairing and servicing all the sewing machines. Mike was given a hammer and some nails to make boxes for the cash as well as larger ones as mask drop-boxes. Simon was strapped into his truck to deliver the finished product. From there, it just rolled on and on…

In total over 7 000 masks were produced with only 2 400 of those being sold for cash. And where there’s cash there are accountants; ‘Let’s Make Masks’ are grateful to Rotary for taking such good care of the money. R39 500 was given back to community projects in either monetary donations or food vouchers.

“And it hasn’t stopped. Coronavirus is still here as is ‘Let’s Make Masks’. So a most grateful community salutes all the ladies (and gentlemen) who dedicated their time, fabric, elastic, enthusiasm and kindness to this initiative!” 

Sources: Robbie Cameron Avis | Coastal Kindness 
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Brent Lindeque is the founder and editor in charge at Good Things Guy.

Recognised as one of the Mail and Guardian’s Top 200 Young South African’s as well as a Primedia LeadSA Hero, Brent is a change maker, thought leader, radio host, foodie, vlogger, writer and all round good guy.

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