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CASA GRANDE — Wanting to make a difference in their communities, a group of volunteers in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has made and donated more than 2,100 face masks.

Nearly 250 people, including women, children and families, worked two weeks on the Casa Grande Stake’s Relief Society project to make the face masks, which were distributed to area schools, Banner Casa Grande Medical Center, the Casa Grande Food Bank and the Pinal-Gila Council for Senior Citizens as well as to individuals and others in need.

“I’m so proud of these volunteers and all they were able to accomplish,” said Marielle Weaver, who coordinated the project. “They did all this in two weeks and many used their own fabric and supplies.”

Weaver said many people are looking to stay busy while they self-isolate and wait out the coronavirus pandemic.

“I think a lot of people were looking for a purpose and something to do to feel useful,” Weaver said. “And there is such a need for these masks.”

She said she learned of a need for face masks on the website JustServe.org and rallied volunteers throughout the stake center, which serves Casa Grande, Coolidge and Arizona City.

She supplied several pattern options and gave the volunteers two weeks to make masks and forward them to her for distribution.

At the time, she said, she had no idea how many crafters would take part in the effort.

“I’m overwhelmed by the response,” she said. “People came together to fill a need in the community.”

Throughout the effort, she said, elastic was difficult for some of the mask-makers to find.

“Some used elastic in their own stashes and I was able to provide some,” she said. “But other volunteers went online and found really clever alternatives to using elastic like making mask straps from T-shirts.”

The finished masks were delivered to Weaver, who took them to community organizations that had requested them.

About 1,500 were delivered to Banner Casa Grande Medical Center.

Some volunteers also delivered some face masks on their own.

“One volunteer put a box of 50 masks outside her home and invited people to take one if they needed it,” Weaver said.

She said the group is still willing to sew if there are other groups in the community that are in need of face masks.

Organizations that would like to receive a shipment of masks may make the request through JustServe.org.

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Melissa St. Aude is the Arts & Entertainment editor at PinalCentral. She can be reached at mstaude@pinalcentral.com.

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