Kristina Wong is an actress and comedian known for her one-woman shows, who was all set to debut her new show and tour all over the United States right when the pandemic hit.
That put a stop to those plans and a hurt on Kristina financially. But she decided she wasn’t going to let it get her down like previous moments of struggle. “I’m not going to be depressed the way I was after 9/11 or during the recession in 2008,” she said. “I’m going to do stuff. I’m going to stay busy. And I’m going to fix other people’s problems.”
So she traded the stage for a sewing machine and started making masks at the beginning of the pandemic when people were desperately looking for them. At the time material was hard to find, but she happened to have a fair bit of scrap material from making her own stage props.
“I was like ‘I can do this. I can sew.’ I just sort of refuse to believe that we’re powerless in these situations,” she said. “I made my first mask on March 20th. I posted on my Facebook page ‘If you are immunocompromised or don’t have access to masks, I’ll make you a mask. Just reimburse me $5 for postage.'”
Hundreds of requests came in and she couldn’t say no, so she was saying yes faster than she could make masks.
That’s when she decided to formed a team of volunteers to make masks with her. Four days later she put out the call for help on a Facebook group; the Auntie Sewing Squad, that she set up; and now there are over 800 volunteers across the US. So far, the group has distributed more than 55,000 masks to communities in need.
Currently, there are aunties working all over the country: from Arizona to Oregon, Pennsylvania to Florida. They sew the masks in whatever free time they have between their own jobs and family commitments. They also help each other by supplying fabric, sewing machines and sometimes food.
It’s a brilliant bit of volunteerism and care for communities, and your Good News Story of the Day that you can find in full; here. But it’s also a source of frustration for Kristina.
“I do refer to our group as a ‘sweatshop’ because I don’t want to romanticize it. While we are enjoying each other’s company in this very strange time in history, we shouldn’t have to be doing this work. This is absolutely the government’s job. We should not have had to turn our homes upside down into sweatshops and pull the sheets off our beds to make masks.”
Story and Image from CNN.