Creating for a cause

HARLINGEN — Throughout the year, residents of this RV resort continually make an effort to participate in many projects that aim to help the community.

Their latest project revolves around helping those in need of facial coverings during this time of pandemic.

Residents of Harlingen’s Tropic Winds RV Resort have made more than 2,000 masks for local fire and police departments, hospitals, medical centers and a church.

The members of the sewing crew include Paula Mellinger, Pam Hughes, Fran Hopcus, Pat Cassidy, Leo Cassidy, Sue Janssen Reece Price, Mary Voecks and Ronnie Schutz.

The group started making masks on March 22 initially for their community and then decided to expand their services as city officials began learning of their efforts.

“As the state started to reopen, we thought that maybe there was no more need for our masks, but because of the continued need expressed by all of the hospitals, fire and police departments, we decided to continue with our mask making,” Mellinger said.

Mellinger said it seems like there is still a great need of masks in the community.

“One resident wore his mask to a doctor’s appointment,” she said. “They were impressed with the masks and wanted to know if we could make some for them.”

Mellinger said as the Winter Texan season ended and the RV resort’s seasonal residents began to travel back north, many of them stayed in touch with the annual residents and sent any materials they could find.

“Our crew has really appreciated all the donations of fabric, elastic, yarn, money for materials and people who could crochet for us,” she said.

According to Mellinger, 35 people gave the group monetary donations and 42 residents volunteered to cut fabric or donate materials, as well as crocheted and knitted earpieces and extenders for the masks when they could not find elastic to purchase.

“Now those of us left in the park continue to sew the masks even though it is slowing down some,” Mellinger said. “Come September when others start to return, we will see whether the need for our masks still remains.”

Mellinger said the residents have all loved being able to continue this project as long as they have because it’s helped many people.

“With this pandemic, making masks has been a great joy for all of us,” Mellinger said. “All the agencies have been very appreciative of the work that we have done.”