GLOUCESTER, Va. -- Inside Transforming Life Church next to the worship area is a workshop with a table. On that table are pieces of fabric, sewing needles, string and a sewing machine that’s produced more than 1,000 free face masks since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
That amount continues to grow with some of the completed face masks sitting on the same table. Just after 12 p.m. on Tuesday, Lynne Freeman, the church’s co-pastor, and her mother Donna Stell were putting together more masks to send out.
Stell said they started making the masks when her granddaughter, a nurse in Newport News, asked for masks.
“She was giving out masks to other nurses in the area,” Stell told News 3, “and then we were posting on Facebook about it and people started asking us for masks."
After they posted about their efforts Facebook, people began inquiring about the face masks. They received orders from interested people and soon recruited the help of Freeman’s husband and family friends to meet the demand.
“We realized there was going to be a big need for that, and that's when we started,” Freeman said.
They produced masks for men, women and children. Aside from handing the face masks out locally, they shipped some out of state, some as far as Maine.
They stressed the masks were completely free, including the shipping.
"I personally don't have it in me; I can't think to do that, to actually charge for something when there's such a need for it,” Freeman said. “For us, I feel like we were just really called to give."
They sew masks during the evening and during the day. Freeman said she will go to the church on her lunch breaks from work and continue sewing.
Some of the materials they used were materials they already had, but they also did buy additional materials. Neighbors also stepped in to help them.
"God's met all of our needs and when we get close to being at the end of whatever we have, somebody donates something,” Stell said. “Then we're off and running again."