Behind a mask, there often hides a superhero

It all stemmed from a conversation in early April. Recognizing the talent of the many volunteer crafters at MEOW Foundation, Jake of MEOW Charity Thrift Shop fame suggested producing face masks to help to raise funds for the MEOW cats. Long-time MEOW volunteer Lori rose to the challenge and began to research various patterns and mask-making methods. Everything seemed feasible but it wasn’t until a new hero swooped in that things really took flight.

A close friend of Lori and supporter of MEOW Foundation, Eunice had never volunteered for MEOW before. Yet, when Lori asked her for some assistance with researching and designing the masks, Eunice hopped on board.

“Eunice came over Easter Sunday and the next day, and we spent six or seven hours each day working on it. I thought that might be the end of her involvement and that I was in trouble because no way did I think I could do it myself yet, but two days later she came over with another prototype,” explains Lori, adding that Eunice had been up since 3 am thinking about how to make the masks perfect.

Since then, Eunice hasn’t looked back. In fact, she clocked up 110 MEOW volunteer hours for the month of April alone and according to Lori, has not stopped since.

“Lori nor I expected the response that the masks have gotten. At first we thought that maybe we would just be making a few,” says Eunice.

While Eunice doesn’t consider herself a creative person, she is a whizz on the sewing machine, a talent with foundations rooted in her childhood.

“I learned to sew on a treadle sewing machine when I was eight or nine years-old as my Mom was a wonderful sewer and even made her own patterns for us,” she says.

To bring the masks from the idea stage through to a physical item and into the hands of a MEOW supporter required a much larger team. Jake, Val, and Esther get the ball rolling by cutting and distributing the fabric to sewers Chris, Lois, Ivy, June and Emily. This talented team have taken charge of the first phase of sewing. They certainly didn’t need to be asked twice to get involved.

“Jake asked if I would be interested in sewing masks, as I have sewn cat pads for MEOW for several years. Money would go to MEOW, so I was on board!” says Chris.

Once that is complete, it’s back to Eunice and Lori for pleating and the addition of elastic, as well as ties hand-sewn by the multi-talented MEOW Medical Advisor Terri. Once they’re complete, it’s MEOW Board Chair Stephanie’s role to ensure customers get their masks swiftly and safely.

The acts of heroism certainly don’t end there. In the community of Bonavista, Carol is making her own masks to benefit MEOW Foundation. She has made hundreds of masks, all the while serving as devoted Foster Mom to a litter of MEOW kittens. Margaret is also flying solo and her adorable masks are keeping all of her customers both safe and stylish. Meanwhile, in a land far far away (i.e. Regina!), Elaine and Tracy are busy getting crafty for the cats. Elsa, who is the Mom of one of our Calgary-based volunteers, is also stitching and sending masks from Trail, B.C.

What began as a small idea has led to the creation, sale and distribution of hundreds of face masks across Calgary and beyond and the team behind it all can really only be described as superheroes. After all, without superpowers, how could anyone survive on such little sleep?!


Contact the Thrift shop by email at