HARLINGEN — Laisa Chavez Macias stays busy and inside her home these days with an order of more than 300 face masks to complete.
The local fashion designer and entrepreneur decided to use old fabrics to create face masks and donate them to healthcare workers.
Macias said she has several friends in the healthcare community who were running out of masks and expressed their concerns to her.
“They have to re-use their masks everyday, but these have a pocket where you can put a filter and switch it out,” Macias said.
Last week, Macias had boxes of air filters donated to her by a friend to place inside her masks.
“Whenever I found out people needed them, I thought, ‘Well, I am just going to make them. I have supplies,’” she said.
Macias posted on Facebook telling friends and family she was masking masks, but without the intention of creating a social media movement, she said.
But it happened.
“People started reaching out and telling me where they work, with the elderly or at a nursing home,” she said.
“I decided to start doing them and donate them, and they come pick them up,” Macias said.
They come in colorful prints, some have floral patterns and others bright colors. Macias said the elastic is adjustable for nose and ears as well.
Since her Facebook post, Macias has been sewing every day to meet her orders.
At the moment, she is no longer taking orders because of the long list of people needing masks.
Even though Macias is a fashion designer and has created gowns and even wedding dresses, this is her first time making masks.
” I did use a pattern tutorial I got online, and the CDC does say that when there is nothing else that handmade masks can be used, as handkerchiefs, and/or scarves. But the tutorial I used was not specifically approved by the CDC,” Macias said. “Medical grade masks should always be used first if they are available,”
“It is my first journey in mask making,” she said.
People express words of gratitude and appreciation when she gives them their new masks, she said.
“I think they are glad they now have something to wear and be able to disinfect it,” Macias said.
Her good deed has been followed by others, Macias said, with more people also offering to make and donate masks, such as the Handmaid Harlingen group.
Though making masks for others were in her plans, Macias said she did not think it would get to be as busy as it has been.
“I guess I did not realize about the need. A lot of big cities seemed to have a big need, but as soon as I posted, all these messages were popping on my message requests,” she said.
“I got back to as many as I could. They are all in health care and stressed out. It is a scary time, but I think them having it makes them feel better and that makes me feel better,” Macias said.