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Calgary Sr. donated 3,500 homemade masks this year

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“I was really starting to appreciate it,” said Vandermeer. “It distracts me from the things I can’t do and I enjoyed it.”

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Stephanie Babych

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January 11, 2021 • • January 11, 2021 • • Read 2 minutes To pass the time this year, 80-year-old Jobien Vandermeer sewed and donated nearly 3,500 non-medical masks to help people in the Calgary community fight the spread of COVID-19. Photo delivered by

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What began as a pastime at the beginning of the pandemic has resulted in the donation of thousands of homemade masks sewn by 80-year-old Jobien Vandermeer from her nursing home in northeast Calgary.

As of April, Vandermeer has made 3,540 masks and counted by her notebook, which she updates daily. She watches her favorite TV shows or listens to music from her desk while doing an average of 20 masks a day.

“With the limited options we have, there is not that much you can do right now,” Vandermeer said in an interview on December 29th.

“A friend of mine gave me a mask at the beginning because her daughter made a few for her family. So I looked at this mask and thought I could do it. I checked my closets, found supplies, and that’s how I started. “

Their masks have made their way to The Mustard Seed, a nearby fire station to be distributed throughout the community, and other organizations and groups across town. Each mask was given away for free.

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People in the community who heard of their efforts to make masks donated materials and supplies.

“I was really starting to appreciate it,” said Vandermeer. “It distracts me from the things I can’t do and I enjoyed it.”

80-year-old Jobien Vandermeer sewed and donated 3,500 non-medical masks this year to help people in the Calgary community fight the spread of COVID-19. Photo delivered by

She isn’t the only Calgarian to have found a pastime in mask-making this year, as the Mask Makers YYC Facebook group gained more than 6,000 members in the first few months of the pandemic, who sewed more than 47,000 masks and 3,300 scrub caps .

These and many more masks helped meet the immediate and overwhelming demand for face coverings when Canadian health officials recommended their use to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus.

As mask making became commercialized and many companies put it on their shelves, homemade production slowed down.

Calgary’s Mask Statute was introduced in July so masks are mandatory in all indoor spaces. Since the beginning of the lesson, masks have also been mandatory for students in grades 4 to 12.

Alberta was the last Canadian province to adopt a universal mask mandate on December 8th when the government introduced a series of tougher public health measures.

Masks have become a daily reality for Albertans as the government mandates the wearing of face coverings indoors and in workplaces across the province.

Vandermeer wants to make sure that people aren’t without masks so that fewer community broadcasts take place and everyone can meet mandates.

sbabych@postmedia.com
Twitter: @BabychStephanie

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