Chicago is into week five of sheltering in place as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. I’m an extravert, so it has taken some getting used to. Plus, the daily press conferences, the staggering numbers of new cases, the deaths, and physical distancing has been draining.
By the second week, requests were coming from healthcare providers for masks. I wanted to help with this simple, yet complicated request.
Then my phone rang. It was Ava, the Chicago Tonight assignment manager for WTTW, Chicago’s PBS station.
After a few minutes of catching up, she expressed her concern for the safety of her crew out working without masks. She needed masks, and she knew I made them. It seemed everyone in Chicago and across the country was making masks, and now there was a run on supplies used to make them.
But I had the needed supplies, so I made 12–enough for her and her crew.
A nice story, I know. But there’s more.
I felt good about my contribution until I watched the daily press conferences and saw how many more masks were needed.
Week three, and my phone rang. It was Ms. Ruby, a wise elder and prayer partner. After prayers and a check-in, she wanted to know more about my mask making.
I shared my frustrations that I couldn’t make enough masks. Ms. Ruby reminded me, as only she can, “Honey, you don’t have to make all the masks that Chicago needs. Do what you can.”
“Honey, you don’t have to make all the masks that Chicago needs. Do what you can.” –Ms. Ruby
She encouraged me to make each one with prayer, and God will give the increase. For the rest of the day, I thought about those four words: Do what you can. Just as women have in every pandemic and war. Every action taken makes a difference.
Now Lutheran World Relief is inviting us to join the 75,000 Face Mask Challenge. If you are like me, joining the challenge helps me remember I don’t have to do it alone. I only need to do what I can. The masks I make will count towards the 75,000.
Even though we are practicing physical distancing, we can work together in community. We can do what we can to make a difference.
Pledge now to join the 75,000 Face Mask Challenge. Then let us know in the comments how many face masks you’ve pledged to make. Together, we can do it.
Valora K Starr is director for discipleship for Women of the ELCA. The photos are the masks she’s made.