East Texas Church Makes and Donates Hundreds of Masks to First Responders in Need

It only took a plea from one parishioner for the St. Clare’s Guild at St. Cyprian’s, Lufkin, to spring into action and sow hundreds of masks to distribute to health care workers and to their local Sheriff’s Department.

The group of 12 crafty women, led by Suzi Powell and Sue Ross—researched and found an appropriate pattern, used their nimble fingers and sewing machines and started to work, very diligently—creating over 600 masks to date. 

“As we all know, there aren’t enough protective masks to protect folks from COVID-19. This is particularly the case in the heart of the Piney Woods of East Texas. Health care workers and the Angelina Sheriff’s Department needed masks and washable N95 mask covers, and there were none to be found,” said Terri Morgan, the rector’s wife, parishioner and guild member of St. Clare’s Guild.

The mobilization started after Powell, who is the chair of St. Clare’s Guild was contacted by Dr. Lisa McLane, a family practitioner and asked for masks that would soon become short supply in one of the hospice centers in town.

Powell and Morgan share that Ross, who is a retired nurse practitioner and quilter, had already devised a mask pattern which called for the masks to be sewn out of woven cotton fabric and lined with a piece of flannel for a filter when used as a cover—similar to the N95 masks. The masks also have elastic straps or cloth ties.  

The masks have been distributed to the Angelina Pediatric Clinic, Hospice in the Pines, various physicians in the community, and to the 117 employees of the Sheriff’s Department.

Additionally, after the city of Lukfin called for everyone to wear masks while in public on April 2, St. Clare’s Guild also made masks for church members and families, including for two sisters who have been members of St. Cyprian’s for over 50 years—Claire Holmes and Sally Selman—and for a formerly homeless young man who has faithfully been attending St. Cyprian’s for the past six months, so that the sisters can continue to drive him to Lufkin’s food pantry.

Currently, the masks are being picked up from one of the members of St. Clare’s Guild after they leave a bag on their mailbox or doorstep.

St. Clare’s Guild is a group of crafters and stitchers at St. Cyprian’s, Lufkin, who have met for more than 40 years and began needlepointing altar decorations and church banners and moved on to knit or crochet prayer shawls for the community, Christmas scarves for seafarers at the Houston Ship Channel, and baby blankets and hats for the Pregnancy Help Center.

“St. Cyprian’s is an example of a Church in action—not within the walls of a building, but in the world. This crisis has drawn us closer together in love, although from a distance,” says Morgan.

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