Volunteers are needed to help sew masks for a Nanaimo B.C. SPCA fundraiser. (Facebook photo)

Volunteers are needed to help sew masks for a Nanaimo B.C. SPCA fundraiser. (Facebook photo)

COVID-19 mask fundraiser helping out Nanaimo SPCA

Organizer looking for more volunteers to help with sewing

A Nanaimo woman wants to turn a negative to a positive during the COVID-19 pandemic through her cotton mask fundraiser benefiting the SPCA.

Martha Marcin, Nanaimo SPCA branch’s 2019 volunteer of the year, operates Nanaimo Cat Sitter and has seen business dry up due to pandemic restrictions. Marcin had previously sewn masks for staff and was wondering how to keep herself busy until business picks up again.

“I was talking to [Leon Davis, Nanaimo B.C. SPCA manager] and he was mentioning how since they’ve had to close the shelter to foot traffic, they are poised to lose pretty much all the revenue that they were going to be getting from walk-through traffic…” said Marcin. “I was quite concerned … so I decided to see if I could raise a little bit of money to at least cover what they’d be losing from foot traffic going to the gift shop, so that’s why I started the mask fundraiser.”

Since April 6, Marcin said there have been $4,000 in donations confirmed. Unfortunately, demand is so high that she’s had to halt production a number of times.

“We are projected, with orders where they are, to at least make another $500,” said Marcin. “Unfortunately we’ve had to close the fundraiser because I’m simply out of volunteers and we’re booked up until June.”

The masks are a rectangular piece of fabric with a pair of elastic bands, 100 per cent cotton and approved by the B.C. Centre for Disease Control for basic use, according to Marcin. There are 300 orders in the queue and people who volunteer need experience sewing, she said.

“I would say that it could be a beginner project, but because we are giving them in exchange for donations directly to the SPCA, 100 per cent of all proceeds … the masks have to [pass muster],” said Marcin. “We can’t give out something poor to them … because of the fact they have to be washed, the seams have to be good and properly done.”

Volunteers are given a package of pre-cut material and instructions on how to sew the mask.

“Then I take a look at them and offer critique if needed, but for the most part I’d say the majority of the sewers are fine to do them,” Marcin said.

Davis said the SPCA in Nanaimo has had to limit services.

“We shut about three weeks ago to the public completely,” said Davis. “Our first order of business was to separate and limit contact between staff and volunteers and all the public and focus on animal care.”

Those interested in offering assistance can e-mail Marcin at nanaimocatsitter@gmail.com.

Orders have been suspended, but information on the fundraiser can be found here.

This feel-good story is part of the #WereInThisTogether campaign by Black Press Media. Have an uplifting story that you think would bring joy to readers? E-mail your story, photos and videos to wereinthistogether@blackpress.ca.

READ ALSO: Stay informed about COVID-19


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