One Wetaskiwin woman is sewing her way through retirement. Penny Radakovitch has spent hundreds of hours sewing to give back to her community.
Some of her projects she’s tackled in the past include sewing book bags with library card pockets, 565 of them to be exact, for the Wetaskiwin Public Library, and making hand-sewed Kleenex pouches for Little Warriors.
But her latest sewing endeavor? Masks.
After seeing a post online about Nurses asking anyone who could to sew masks, Radakovitch knew that she would make that her next project and contribution to the community.
After sewing some masks for friends and family, word of mouth and social media got out, and soon others started reaching out to Radakovitch for handmade masks.
Radakovitch explains that, “my whole point is to make a barrier between our hands and face.” Her masks will not directly stop you from catching coronavirus, but rather will reinforce the preventative measure to not touch your face; and if you should, you will find a mask protecting your nose and mouth from your hands.
With pleats to look like a hospital mask, “they cover right from the nose to under the chin just like a surgical mask,” Radakovitch says.
Using donated material and her own personal supply, Radakovitch has been making as many masks as possible a day. She says that as long as she has material she will keep sewing.
“Between yesterday and the day before I put out 34 masks in my mailbox,” Radakovitch says. She also double layers the material, putting the best patterns on the outside, “I want to keep them bright and happy looking.”
In self-isolation for her own safety, Radakovitch makes mask exchanges through her mailbox. People looking for masks for themselves or their place of work contact her, she’ll sew the masks then wrap them, label them with the name of who they are for and then puts them in her mailbox.
Doing this out of the goodness of her heart, Radakovitch has made it her goal to try to make masks for as many vulnerable people and groups as possible. One of her main goals at the moment is to make enough masks for everyone at the Horizons Centre in Wetaskiwin. She wants to help provide even a little more protection to those who may not be able social distance, or quite understand the importance of it during this outbreak.
Her biggest concern at the moment, “how do I find the people who need them?”
Radakovitch hopes to be able to donate her masks to group homes and the hospital as well. If not for front line workers, then at least for visiting relatives and patients waiting in emergency, a barrier for coughs and extra hand-face protection.
Radakovitch’s masks are also good to wear multiple times. To clean them Radakovitch says just “take your mask, toss it in the laundry.”
Anybody who is in need of masks, or knows of a vulnerable organization or group that could use Radakovitch’s charitable sewing can contact her on her Facebook or through the “Too Good To Toss Wetaskiwin” Facebook page.