Horizon Heroes: Wearing Masks and Making Them Too

Over 30 community members, two organizations and a grassroots volunteer group answered the call to sew more than 1,700 reusable face masks for Horizon residents at the height of the pandemic.

When the Centre for Disease Control announced face masks, even homemade, could help prevent the spread of COVID-19, Horizon Housing realized affordability, health, and mobility challenges, may mean residents may face additional barriers to finding or making their own masks.

Horizon Housing set a goal to make 1,400 face masks which would be distributed to every Horizon household. The Horizon team began by sewing and tweaking prototypes, then sourcing materials in bulk, and finally prepping Do-It-Yourself kits for volunteers to take home and sew in the safety of their homes.

Staff and Board members of Horizon Housing jumped into action to tap into their networks, quickly engaging a roster of eager volunteers to help. Volunteers emerged from everywhere: grandparents, new parents, next-door neighbours, quilting groups, family members and corporate teams. The team at Prospect Human Services banded together to make 300 face masks and the grassroots group Mask Makers YYC provided 250 masks for residents.

With The City of Calgary’s Face Coverings Bylaw in effect, the volunteer effort means over 1,700 reusable face masks are now in the hands of Horizon residents. In the end, over 30 volunteers answered the call for help.

“We can’t thank our volunteers enough for their quick action and generosity to respond to an urgent need,” says Che Greywall, Donor Relations Associate and Project Coordinator. “Now that face masks are mandatory in public spaces, our residents can continue to focus on what’s most important to them because they are already equipped with this essential item.”

But don’t take it from us! Here is one of many messages of thanks offered as masks were shared with residents.

“On behalf of my mother, myself and the rest of our family, thank you so much to all of your volunteers for taking time out of your own lives during this chaotic time to ensure that those who are in need have masks to wear. The masks are beautifully made, but more important is the lasting positive impact you have had on my mother and our family. The fact that you thought of her and her well-being is incredible. Amidst all of the negative headlines in the news, it is amazing to hear that such generosity and love exists. It is profoundly moving to think that there are people who show tremendous acts of kindness and receive nothing in return. It really has boosted our morale and makes us know that there really are good people out there.”

Tina, Daughter of Resident