Woman makes fall-themed face masks to benefit local church, food pantry as pandemic continues

Posted at 1:59 PM, Sep 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-03 21:30:05-04

NORFOLK, Va. - Don't expect face masks to go out of style any time soon, especially as the coronavirus pandemic continues.

Louise Barbarisi, a local face mask producer, plans to keep making masks through the fall.

“I am a quilter. I love to quilt and I’ve done it for 42 years,” Barbarisi said. “But I never thought of mask producing, to speak of all these masks."

It's been six months since the coronavirus pandemic started in the United States, and Barbarisi's sewing machine is still running.

“It’s just me, but I do have a friend that sometimes cuts for me, and that helps a lot,” she said.

It started when a friend from her sewing club asked if she wanted to make masks in March. At first, she said she was hesitant, but after making one she continued making more.

“This is my pride and joy, my machine,” she said as she sewed together fabric to make another mask. “I wouldn’t have made as many if I had to do them by hand."

Barbarisi said she currently has made over 1,500 masks and doesn't charge for a mask if a customer cannot afford one. She added people have given her monetary donations, and splits the donations between materials, the Holy Trinity Catholic Church and its food pantry.

“It’s been my church since 1953, but there are a lot of people in Ocean View who are hungry," Barbarisi said. “I certainly don’t want to see these children not have anything to eat."

Autumn approaches, and Barbarisi said she will make masks with fall-themed fabrics.

“I’ve gotten some fabric for Breast Cancer Month for October, so I’m making some of those,” she explained. “I did buy some Halloween fabric, so I’m afraid it looks like we’re going to be using these for a while."

She said she does not plan to stop making masks any time soon.

“It makes you feel good,” Barbarisi said. “It just gives you a good feeling to be able to help somebody.”

Anyone who would like to inquire about a mask, help produce masks, or make a donation in exchange for a mask can do so by sending her an email at the following email address: