At the Y, we know our members have been doing some incredible work to help their communities face the difficult challenges of the COVID-19 public health crisis. Among them is C.W. Avery Family YMCA member Amy Nowak, who has crafted and donated over 300 masks to those in need.
“I knew there was a need and I know how to sew. I’m a stay-at-home mom so I didn’t have too much other work to do right now. I dug into my stash of fabric, luckily I had the right kind, and I started sewing,” Amy said.
Amy, who has been a member for nearly three years after moving to Plainfield five years ago, said that making masks has been just one outlet to try and stay engaged with the community. She and her daughters have also been taking part in some of the Y’s online programming.
“My daughters and I have taken some of the Live with the Y classes and now my oldest really wants to meet (Health, Wellness and Dance Director) Kristen Derengowski after seeing her on the screen. She has also been doing the Zoom calls with her Pint-Size Pupils class. They’ve been able to do things like show and tell, sing songs and have story time. She has gotten to see the kids and the teachers and she loves it,” Amy said.
Amy noted that her daughter has also played a role in the mask-making process.
“I’ve got part of my kitchen set up as a sewing center at the moment and when my oldest saw it she really wanted to learn. She’s been helping a little bit here and there,” she said.
Amy initially sewed masks for family members but has been able to expand to area nurses and others in need with the help of some donations from those in her neighborhood.
“Everyone needs a mask, not just healthcare workers, and since I live right across from an assisted living center I asked if they needed masks. They have 178 residents so the big thing I’m working on now is trying to make at least one for everyone there,” she said.
And though she misses being able to visit the YMCA in person, Amy said she has been able to lean on the Y connections she has developed to make the best of the current situation.
“My closest group of friends is from the Y and we’ve tried our best to stay together online and talk about what we’re doing or coordinate our workouts a little bit,” she said. “The Y is a lot more than a gym to me. It is a community and it provides so many more things than just the building itself. We can utilize the resources the Y is putting out.”