Pasco family donates around 2,000 masks

A family in Pasco has donated around 2,000 masks since April to help families that can’t afford them.

Nat Mapili and her mother-in-law Joy Beese have spent months making masks for people around the community. Nat said she thought this would be a good contribution during the pandemic.

“We need to stop the virus,” Nat said, “To protect yourself, your family and people you love or people around you.”

Joy was living at a retirement home when the pandemic started. She was a part of a quilt making club so her sewing skills made transitioning to making masks quite easy. Joy made some masks for people inside the retirement home and now works with Nat to make more. Nat cuts the fabric and Joy sews. She said it takes about 10 minutes to make each mask.

“It’s good to feel useful,” Joy said, “Which as a senior citizen, you know, I tend to have nothing much to do, but it’s very great to feel useful and to do something that people really need.”

Nat said she didn’t expect to still be making masks but as people still need them, she will continue to make them.

“In the beginning, I set my goal in 1000,” she said, “After that, I cannot stop it because the virus is still here. I cannot stop it. So I stopped counting at 1000, but you know, I think more than 2000 and we are making more.”

Nat noticed grocery stores selling masks at a price many people can’t afford and wanted to make sure families and children had masks.

“I care because I know more people right now that they’re losing jobs, you know, they’re depressed,” Nat said, “Some people are losing people who they love. I want to show them they’re not alone.”

That means every morning Nat takes around 12-20 masks and places them in front of their house. She has set up signs and baskets for anyone to grab a mask as they pass by. Nat posts about the masks on Facebook to let community members know where they can find the free masks. She doesn’t stop there though. Nat said she will also go around her neighborhood and drop free masks in mailboxes. People have reached out over Facebook to make special requests.

“We want to make them nice and make them cute,” Nat siad.

They have made several different styles but Joy said the reversible masks with elastic bands that go around your ears is the easiest style to make quickly.

Joy and Nat hope to make as many masks as possible before winter hits eastern Washington. They say they mask baskets may be hard to get to in rough weather. They say for whoever wants a mask, come by now so you have one.