Face masks have become one of the many necessities that almost about everyone uses to ensure they don’t get exposed to the deadly virus we’ve come to know as the coronavirus. Unfortunately, not everyone owns a mask.
Luckily there are a few individuals who have a gift that can help supply those people with the life saving mask that they need.
Chalise Ludlow, assistant professor of VSU Theatre and Dance and some of her students have made over 70 washable reversable masks for people around the community since the pandemic started.
Ludlow said that the plan to make the masks came about when Maryelyse Wilson, a Valdosta High School student, who is also helping to make the masks, heard that the Valdosta Police Department needed masks.
“That’s sort of where it all started,” Ludlow said. “We saw a need and I have amazing students who even in their quarantine are willing to use their skills.”
The Valdosta Police Chief, Leslie Manahan, was happy to receive the 60 masks made by Ludlow and her students.
“This is a time we need our community partners more than ever,” Chief Manahan said. “The VSU costume design faculty and students are coming through in a big way. We’re thankful to have committed partners like that. Our officers will benefit from these vital items during these unprecedented times. Today and every day I am so proud to be a Blazer.”
Ludlow and her students have also donated 32 masks to a cancer center in Kansas. And said that sheS hopes the masks will encourage a sense of comfort in this time of need.
“Just bringing people some joy and protection during this time, because it’s a scary time and our anxiety is high, I just want to make sure that people feel loved and protected,” Ludlow said. “That they know that we are out there caring in any way that we can and if that’s making a mask because we have the supplies and skills then let’s do it.”
Since they have started making the masks, Ludlow said they have received a lot of support from the community. They have received extra supplies and cash donations that total up to about $240.
“We’ve just had an outpouring of awesomeness from the community and from all over,” she said. “People are willing to help. They don’t have the skills to sew, but they want to be a part of helping those people who are on the frontlines.”
The cash donations have been used to purchase more supplies such as more fabric, elastic bands and air filter sheets that are put into the mask to help block out any particles.
Kathalina Thorpe, theatre production major and another volunteer said that although the air filter sheets that they use block out most particles, the masks are not for kids under the age of 2.
“We’re happy to make mask for ages 2 and up, but we’re not going to provide masks for infants,” Thorpe said. “Children’s lungs are not able to process the air and CO2s in a mask and you’ll run the risk of suffocating your children. As much as we would love to help keep the little ones safe, a car seat cover or staying at home is the best option.”
The unsung heroes behind providing the community with masks have 300 orders that they will be completing throughout the next couple of weeks. Ludlow said that she doesn’t intend to slow down making masks anytime soon.
“This is all for free and we just want to keep you safe and so it will not stop after VDP, it’s just getting started and we will make them until the need is done.,” she said.
Ludlow said if anyone would like to donate anything to visit their Facebook page The Mask Force.
Written by Lenah Allen, Campus Life Editor. Photo courtesy of Chalise Ludlow.