Stephanie Race is no stranger to lending a helping hand. It’s a lesson she learned as a child, so it’s not surprising that the head of Research and Outreach at the Thomas G. Carpenter Library quickly found a way to help others when the COVID-19 pandemic began. Race decided she could serve the community by sewing face masks.
“From a young age, my parents instilled in my sisters and me the value of helping others,” Race said. “When things started to shut down and people wanted to take precautions, I saw several patterns for making masks. I knew my sisters and I had the resources, and this was a need we could help fill.”
Along with her sisters, Race has made and distributed close to 1,600 masks to healthcare workers, a prison hospital, an assisted living facility, friends and UNF colleagues including almost 200 masks created for library staff.
“The mask making has kept me busy while being quarantined and allowed me to do something that in a small way helps others,” Race said.
During the pandemic, Race continues to stay motivated by the conversations she has with students and faculty in the Osprey community along with others in the Jacksonville community.
“The outpouring of support from our community – from people who leave $20 when they take a single mask to the days someone hands me a bag of fabric – motivates us to keep sewing,” Race said. “The donations we receive cover the costs of supplies, so that we can continue to help others. When someone asks for a mask to make them feel safer while working, it's the least we can do to help.”
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