HAMPTON, Va. - Thanks to COVID-19, demand is increasing for everyone to wear some type of protective face covering. One Peninsula woman is helping us do that - all in addition to her responsibilities as a local teacher.
Sandra Dianna, a Hampton City Schools second grade teacher, is busy in the the morning keeping her students engaged via Zoom video conferencing while they're learning from home. When she's not teaching, Dianna is sewing - in fact, she's been doing that for 45 years and is now using that skill in the fight against COVID-19.
"I have a lot of aunts and uncles, and they started talking about how it was really hitting the older people when it first came out."
Plus she has a daughter who works at a local hospital.
"So, I decided I needed to make her a mask and make all my aunts and uncles masks. Immediately and before I knew it, I had already sewn 100 masks," she said.
Dianna has a sister who works at another hospital, and once word of her mask making spread, she also started making them for nursing homes and assisted living facilities.
"I have probably given away 500."
She then started selling some, like the ones she made for the class of 2020.
"And I just decided to two-tone it - like the school colors - and put an emblem it on that says 'Class of 2020 graduate' but put 'quarantined' on it. And so I did them for all the high schools in Hampton, and it's expanded; people want them for their colleges," Dianna explained.
From her sales of these masks, she's been able to raise money for her church program caring for the homeless.
"They've got them sheltered in place in a local hotel and there's 45 of them and they keep safe and they feed them on a daily basis, but it costs money to do that."
And Dianna has been able to contribute $1,000 to that program.
So, for all those reasons, News 3 presented her with a People Taking Action award, along with a $300 Visa gift card from our community partner, Southern Bank.
Dianna was surprised.
"Oh my gosh! That is amazing. Oh my goodness, I was not expecting that!
Dianna says she feels good knowing she's making a difference and adds that this doesn't seem like work.
"This, to me, is decompressing; I don't feel stressed and I just keep making them."
And for that, we are grateful!
To nominate someone for a People Taking Action Award, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.