Mask pop-up stores cater to Camden

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For the last few weekends, local shoppers have been able to pick up something new along with their groceries.  Mask makers have been popping up in Camden County parking lots and other public shopping areas, such as Winn-Dixie in Kingsland, to distribute an array of handmade cloth masks. They...

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For the last few weekends, local shoppers have been able to pick up something new along with their groceries. 

Mask makers have been popping up in Camden County parking lots and other public shopping areas, such as Winn-Dixie in Kingsland, to distribute an array of handmade cloth masks. They only accept donations for materials, but the public has responded well to their efforts. 

Weather permitting, the group plans to be at the Kingsland Winn-Dixie again on Saturday. They are also looking for other locations in the county to set up their tables. 

"In the three recent short events at Winn-Dixie Kingsland, they have dispensed over 650 face masks and ear savers," said G. Stephens Dickey, who started a Facebook page called "Mask Up Camden" to help meet the local need for masks. 

The page served as a good place for Camden's mask makers to coordinate their efforts and work together, Dickey said. 

"Seamstress members take orders in the group and showcase their wares, meeting or delivering masks," she said. 

Bridget Wenum of Kingsland also got involved early on with making and giving away masks to those who needed them, like senior living communities.

They make them in different sizes — men, ladies and children — and they are available in countless styles, colors and designs. 

"One mask maker, Becky Duregger, has designed custom masks for medical, business and school staff with logo designs," Dickey said. 

Others include Christine Turman, Barbara Krupinksi, Edna Rolston, Sheryl Chance, Carrie Boyd, Valerie Woodcock, Amy Denny, Angie McDonald, Michele Mixon, Janet Cox and Helen Beaulieu.

"They are a great group of ladies volunteering their time and energies to this task," Dickey said. "They get up early to sew and sew hours to make them, and fill orders or requests. Some have full-time jobs."

Getting the elastic bands have often been a challenge and even material disappears as soon as it is available. Some parts, like the metal wire that shapes a mask to one's nose, must be sourced online. 

Dickey said Georgia Bulldog themed masks have been the most popular, as well as kid's themes.

"They have donating hundreds of masks to the community since COVID crisis began, and sell them to recoup their material expenses," Dickey said.

The mask makers were not motivated by starting a business to make money, Dickey said, but rather making sure that local citizens have masks that they feel good about wearing. 

According to medical professionals, wearing masks remains one of the best ways for slowing the spread of COVID-19 in the community.