Pokagon elders approach goal of making 1,400 masks to fight COVID-19

DOWAGIAC — In the wake of COVID-19, one group of Pokagon citizens has been putting its skills to use to benefit the community.

The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi announced that members of its Elders Council have been working on the creation and distribution of face masks to protect Pokagon Health Service employees, patients, Pokagon Elders, spouses, Pokagon citizens and more from the potential spread of the coronavirus. The group also announced that they are within 100 masks of reaching their goal of 1,400.

“This was a heartwarming, community-building project that provided an essential mission for skilled, idle hands during self-isolation,” said Elders Council Vice-Chair Julie N. Dye.

Currently 14 local Pokagon Elder seamstresses have volunteered their time and skills to make masks:

  • Barbara Ann Warren
  • Candi Wesaw
  • Carla Getz-King
  • Cathy Ford
  • Deborah Williams
  • Elizabeth McBride
  • Judy Augusta
  • Julie Winchester-Farver
  • Kathryn Crouch
  • Lisa Downing
  • Ruth Saldivar
  • Sandra Taylor
  • Roberta Watson
  • Margaret Rapp

The project has been supported by several key donors and supporters including:

  • Rhonda Wesaw-Keene and Julie Dye helped to organize and support the group
  • Majel DeMarsh has donated a lot of material
  • Ann Morsaw-Banghart has made and donated masks
  • Julie Winchester-Farver, in addition to sewing masks, s has also been donating materials and supplies. She recently opened Quilted Oak Leaf. The shop is located on Glenwood Road in Dowagiac and is a destination Quilt Shop offering fabric, quilt notions, supplies and more.

For questions about the creation of face masks by Pokagon elders, contact Julie Dye at (269) 462-1004.