Local Anza resident Joanne Salazar cut, stitched and packaged 125 homemade face masks and donated them to the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department’s Hemet Station.
Salazar makes gifts, signs and lettering. Recently, she expanded her skills at the sewing machine.
“When I started out I was just going to make them for friends and family, then I saw a post from the Riverside Sheriff’s Department asking for masks on Facebook,” she said. “I contacted Mrs. Parsons, Deputy Parson’s wife and asked if there was still a need. She said ‘yes,’ so I made 15 masks and had him come by and get them. He then contacted me and asked if I could make 110 more.”
Work began in earnest. Salazar’s husband Don and daughter Sophia assisted.
“Because I was trying to mass produce, I would cut the fabric in 7-inch strips, and Don would cut the pattern out on the laser cutter which saved a crazy amount of time,” she said. “I would then just sew one part after the other so then they would be on one long string. Sophia would then cut them apart and stack them for me. I have never been much of a seamstress, not much more than a straight line. Although I feel like I may actually be able to follow a pattern now.”
The sheriff’s department took to social media to show off their new masks.
“We would like to send a big thank you to Joanne Salazar from Anza who made several green face masks for the Hemet Sheriff’s Station. Not only did they fit great but made us all look fantastic,” the department said on social media.
Salazar’s daughter Sophia enjoyed the experience, Salazar said.
“Sophia thought it was very cool when Deputy Parsons picked up the masks. He chirped his siren and flashed his lights so she could see and she waved from the window. Parsons is our resource officer at the school so she knows him. Since she has barely left the house since school closed and hasn’t been able to see her friends, this really meant a lot to her,” Salazar said.
The sewing continues at the Salazar household.
“I have a bunch of masks cut out, so I will be making more to hand out to the residents of Anza,” she said.
Diane Sieker can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.