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Indiana District sews masks for military

Vicki Hermansen | May 22, 2020

IN District sews masks

When the COVID-19 pandemic spread throughout the world, Kiwanis members in the Indiana District wanted to help those on the front lines.

It all came together when Past Governor Vanessa McClary volunteered to help the military with much-needed masks. The call came for 2,000 to be sent to Afghanistan.  

McClary, a member of the Kiwanis Club of South Central Indiana, was contacted by a woman in Bloomington whose son was serving in the military in Afghanistan. While the military was providing masks, the need to be covered 24/7 was a challenge.

“I went to Governor Kevin (Rowland) to see if he would be interested in making this a district-wide project,” McClary said. “He thought it was a great idea and we started reaching out to people.” A district project flyer was created by Jenny Tracy and Stephanie Shelton explaining what was needed.  

Kiwanis members rallied. Sewing machines came out of storage; personal sewing projects were put aside to work on the masks. The clubs used a pattern developed by a local businesswoman.  

IN District sews masksElla Francis, a member of the Key Club of Bloomington High School, made 140 brown masks, and Claudia Scott, a member of the Kiwanis Club of South Central Indiana, made masks with the Army logo. Several members of the American Legion Auxiliary Department of Indiana Unit 18 pitched in too.

When the project is complete, they will have more than 2,500 masks to send to Afghanistan.  

“This is what Kiwanis is all about — finding a need and fulfilling a need,” McClary said. “During COVID-19 clubs have been looking for ways to contribute, and this was a great fit for us.”  

McClary coordinated the efforts, buying fabric and elastic, mailing the masks overseas and thanking the volunteers.  

“This has been an amazing experience,” she said.

Funding and materials, along with the time and effort to make the masks, came from:

  • Kiwanis Club of South Central Indiana
  • Kiwanis Club of Bloomington
  • IN District sews masksKiwanis Club of Greenwood
  • Kiwanis Club of 101 Lakes Angola
  • Kiwanis Club of Henryville
  • Kiwanis Club of Huntington-Metro
  • Kiwanis Club of Crawfordsville
  • Kiwanis Club of Warsaw
  • Individuals who wanted to help

“Our club has been making our community — and the world — a better place for more than 50 years,” said Richard Isenhour, a member of the Kiwanis Club of Greenwood. “When our members are not involved in service, they get antsy. This project has given us a chance to fuel our passion for serving by helping a group that is very dear to our hearts: the military.”

Indiana District Governor Kevin W. Rowland said it was an honor to make the masks for the military.

“Providing some masks is the least we can do. Their sacrifice is valued by Kiwanis and we are grateful for their service,” Rowland said

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