CINCINNATI — Ann Johnston is usually busy making jewelry for her online brand, but when the pandemic hit, she wanted to use her skills to help people in need.
Johnston and her daughter, Elle, started making face masks and selling them for $10 donations, with all proceeds going toward Cincinnati Area Senior Services’ Meals on Wheels program, an initiative that helps feed senior citizens in need.
"I really like using my hands, and it just seemed to be, you know, not very often can Betsy Ross rise to the occasion in a crisis, and I just decided to use my skills and to try to really make a difference,” Johnston said.
When Johnston posted the masks on Instagram, her goal was to raise $2,500. She sold out of masks in four hours and raised $5,600.
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H47 needs your help with MASKS FOR MEALS! Help is make a difference Cincinnati Friends!! My daughter Ell and I are SEWING MASKS to make a difference to our senior community amidst the COVID-19 outbreak. Our goal is to raise $3,000 for “Meals on Wheels”, a non-profit, that feeds Cincinnati seniors in need! We ask you consider purchasing masks for a minimum suggested donation of $10 each. 100% of our proceeds will go to Meals on Wheels. If interested, please DM or email me (mailto:email@example.com) with your email and number of masks you’d like. They are offered on a first come, first served basis. Our plan is to sew 250 masks. Masks are cotton fabric that cover your mouth and nose and are attached with elastic around your ears***. We expect availability sometime next week and will email when they are ready. Currently, we are waiting delivery on the elastic and interfacing but have all the fabric cut and ready to sew. Once sewn, masks will be put in Ziploc bags, marked with your name on our front porch for pick up with a box for payments. We are happy to deliver if needed. Check payments to “Meals on Wheels” will be accepted and receipt from Meal on Wheels mailed to you for your tax-deductible donation. Originally, we set out to make masks for Christ hospital front-line workers but learned they are not allowed to wear homemade masks. With our project already in motion, we shared photos with friends of our masks who commented they’d like to purchase a few. At the recommendation of a doctor friend, we contacted Meals on Wheels about donating the proceeds from our mask sales. They were thrilled, and the idea was hatched! This personally strikes a chord, as we are grateful for the meals made by the loving caregiver of our 92-year-old in-laws who are in the high-risk group for COVID-19. I can’t imagine how they would be managing through this tough time if they weren’t fed! Thank you for considering to help us reach our $3,000 goal! ***Please be aware these are homemade masks and shouldn’t be compared to the N95 masks used in hospitals. www.cassdelivers.org www.mealsonwheelsamerica.org
“I couldn't believe it,” Johnston said. “It was the power of social media … and then we just asked for donations after they had sold out, and people just kept coming.”
The donation is very much needed; the Meals on Wheels program is losing $100,000 a month in donations, according to CEO Tracy Collins.
"It makes me really excited because it makes me not have to worry about, ‘How am I going to get money?’ ‘How am I going to pay them,’” Collins said.
The mother-daughter duo are considering selling more masks to raise additional funds. Check Hyde Forty-Seven’s Instagram page for more information.
Click here to donate to Cincinnati Area Senior Services.