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Locals help make face masks fashionable

Following government recommendations that people wear face masks whenever out and about, many Tehachapi residents are now keeping themselves busy by making face masks. Some are making masks for themselves, their families and friends while others are making them to be donated to nonprofits, health providers and anyone else who needs them.

Four ladies from Bear Valley Springs, Rhonda Brady, Cathy Criger, Lyn Mazie and Annette Shepherd have been working as a group, but from their own homes. It began when Brady received a Facebook pattern from her friend Gloria McClendon in Bakersfield with the note, "You can do this."

Brady enlisted her three friends and they went to work, each in her own sewing room. Using unique and cute fabrics from their own stashes, the four ladies to date have made 40 masks that have been donated to Adventist Health Tehachapi Valley, 50 masks that have been donated to the Salvation Army for their volunteers working at the food bank and 15 that were given to Union Bank for their tellers.

Criger, whose daughter Lacy works for a high school in Bakersfield, made masks for the cafeteria workers who are still providing lunches for students to pick up daily. Lacy learned to make them also and sent nine masks to a family in Virginia.

Mindy Martindale of Bee Good Essential Oils has been working eight hours a day making masks for the nonprofits "Healing Hands" and "Days for Girls." She was recently asked by Kellie Dudevoir of Canine Creek if she had any dog fabric. She found some in her mother's stash and made the masks for the workers at Canine Creek. Martindale said she charges $5 for any of her masks that are sold locally. To date she has made over 250.

Some of the masks are actually becoming a fashion statement. If anyone should want to try making one or several, patterns in different styles are available for free on the Internet. Most sites are quick to remind that these masks are not Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) but health officials now recommend that people use cloth face masks to cover their nose and mouth when in public. This voluntary measure is meant to stop the spread of the virus when people must visit places like grocery stores, pharmacies, etc.