Since March 18th, the organization founded by Angie Cohen and Paula Villamizar, has created and donate thousands of masks for organizations and people in the Miami area including health care workers, police officers and numerous community groups and individuals.
“One of our students, Ariel Swedroe, started making masks for her grandparents and from then on, we realized everyone was going to need them and that healthcare and essential workers were having a hard time finding masks,” explains DesignLab Give Co-founder Paula V. Sohn.
Since then, the group has sewn and donated over 2500 masks in Miami and some they shipped out of state. About 35 DesignLab student volunteers and their families have helped out. The ones that do not sew, cut. It has become a group effort.
“We never realized that this would become such a successful project,” Sohn said. “It was started because of an urgent need and our wish to help out our community. The orders started pouring in. Additionally, our “sewing army” was so enthusiastic to help out, it was fulfilling to know we were all doing something about it. It felt good all around.
The new additional Brother sewing machines have made it possible for more of the groups volunteers to work on the mask making project. They were able to loan some of the older machines to volunteers that did not have them so they could work at home. The newly donated Brother machines were then able to be used at the studio by volunteers that came to sew there.
In the future they plan to continue to use the machines to teach under privileged groups to sew. The community programs have been on hold during the health crisis, but they are working on setting up a sewing program with a foster care agency. The group hopes to be able to begin in person teaching again once the health care crisis is resolved.
DesignLab Give has donated to the following:
Nicklaus Children’s Hospital
Camillus House (Health Unit)
The Jewish Community Services
Food Bank of Miami
North Miami Beach Police Dept
Aventura Hospital Temple Judea
Voices for Children (Liberty City)
and over 85 individuals that have contacted the organization via IG and that have donated and received masks.