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Prolific mask makers in Castle Pines

By Steve Whitlock; photos courtesy of Holley Ferrel

Photo of Annabelle Martin (left) and Brooke Ferrel

Annabelle Martin (left) and Brooke Ferrel (right) present a powerful team who create protective masks one stitch at a time.

Two girls in the Castle Pines area have made a big difference sewing masks and donating them to those in need. Annabelle Martin and Brooke Ferrel have sewn more than 500 masks together. Annabelle says, “We were given an opportunity to make them for Operation We Can Sew It. This organization collects masks made according to a specific pattern for Saint Joseph Hospital in Denver. It started there. We were prompted to do this because we wanted to find a way to give to the community during a difficult time.”

Operation We Can Sew It came from a humble beginning. A simple text read, “How can we help?” The founders explain, “With a collaborative effort from a group of 10 friends and family members, including three doctors, the mask was designed, made, improved upon, re-designed, then re-made. A website was built, social media posts were created and Operation We Can Sew It was born.”

Brooke provided more details on their involvement, “My mom and I searched the house; we had some fabric on hand, so we downloaded instructions and watched the video tutorials on how to make the masks. Annabelle ordered a sewing machine. While waiting, she also looked for fabric and worked on cutting and ironing. She brought over masks and fabric she had prepared and then I just had to stitch them up. We had a lot of fun and worked well as a team. Annabelle’s mom reached out to other organizations that needed masks. She found the Denver Indian Center, specifically Choctaw tribal members who were in need, so we just continued making masks and more masks!”

Photo of Brooke working on masks.

Brooke working on masks from her dining room table.

When asked how they came up with all of the materials to produce so many masks, Annabelle said, “My mom and Brooke’s mom both donated fabric, thread and elastic. We also received a large donation of fabric from Nycole Walling, a Centennial resident.”

She added, “It makes me feel good to know that I have done my part to help our society today when it’s been at such a low point. Hearing how much the organizations like our masks puts a smile on my face!”

Likewise, Brooke said, “It always feels great to know you can help someone else, particularly those in need – especially at the beginning of the pandemic when there was so much fear and uncertainty and no one could leave their homes. It was great to be able to use my time in productive ways rather than just binging Netflix.”

When asked what she has learned, Brooke shared, “I have learned a lot about sewing skills! I’ve always been service-oriented and try to be aware of needs around me, but this project expanded into things I would have never thought of before, like making PPE (personal protective equipment). I’ve learned the value of time being used wisely and that even small ways we reach out to help others can make a big difference.”

Annabelle added another personal benefit, “Patience! I have learned to be very patient during this process as the masks require precision. If the masks are not made with precise standards, they will not be safe for people to use.”

Their moms are noticeably pleased. Monica, Annabelle’s mother said, “I am proud Annabelle used this as an opportunity to help others and remain positive. She didn’t focus on what she was missing in 2020, rather her focus was how can I make the world a better place. Annabelle and Brooke are such kind, compassionate, smart girls. They really took charge here and have displayed extraordinary, honorable character.”

Brooke’s mother, Holley, added, “I would say in addition to being proud, I feel grateful that the girls had this opportunity to help others in a meaningful way. It has been great to watch them use time wisely in helping others. I would hope the girls will learn from this, that there are always small and simple ways to help others. I also think sewing has become somewhat of a lost art and yet we have seen how important it can be.”



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