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Impact Stories

Masks for Local Love: Cowichan’s mask-makers

Wearing a mask is about protecting yourself and those around you. By wearing a mask, you’re being compassionate, and showing that you care.

We want to spread a simple message: wearing a mask is not about fear.

Wearing a mask is about protecting yourself and those around you. By wearing a mask, you’re being compassionate, and showing that you care.

Wearing a mask is about love.

And it’s one important part of how we’re protecting each other.

At United Way Central & Northern Vancouver Island, we are dedicated to providing our frontline service providers and our community with the tools they need to protect themselves and each-other.

Over the course of the pandemic, United Way CNVI has provided tens of thousands of dollars towards personal protective equipment (PPE). We’ve funded the installation of plexiglass in the Vancouver Island Mental Health Association’s transportation van, provided for Covid-19 upgrades at the Nanaimo Unitarian Shelter, paid for masks so that Tri-Port seniors can have a socially-distanced picnic, and distributed 16,000 masks to more than 55 local agencies across our region. And much more.

We’ve directed funding from the Government of Canada’s Reaching Home: Canada’s Homelessness Strategy and Emergency Community Support Fund, and donors like you.

We’ve been funding masks and wearing them because we care.

And we’re not doing it alone.

Volunteers everywhere are putting down beloved sewing projects and using their own materials to make effective and beautifully made masks for their community. Cowichan’s Mask the Valley is one of those initiatives.

Supported through Volunteer Cowichan, the Mask the Valley project has received United Way CNVI funding for a youth mask-making initiative that saw youth provided with masks, materials and the knowledge to make their own.

But Mask the Valley is powered by volunteers who are donating their time, skill and materials to make many more of their neighbours safer.

Check out the video below to hear from Sylvie Judge, Mask the Valley’s most prolific mask maker, and hear from other volunteers about making masks with love. And check back for our next mask-maker post where we hear from Cowichan elder Stella Johnny.