Why This Tailor Decided to Provide Free Face Masks

Beyond having to shutter her doors to clients, Claudia made the decision to provide these masks to her community free of charge. “I knew that this very basic creation could potentially have a positive impact on the community that surrounded me,” she said. “At that time, during the face mask shortage, I could not charge my people money for something they needed to survive — it did not seem right to me. People came from all over San Diego to my small sewing studio in Barrio Logan to pick up their free face masks, and many of them blessed me with freshly grown produce, canned food, fabric, elastic, and other means to keep the project moving forward. It was both incredible and exhausting, life changing and scary as hell.”

Every day, for almost three months straight, Claudia got up at 7 a.m. to start working on face masks — and the need for masks from people from her community was increasing. “Staying focused on creating the masks helped to distract me from the nonstop stream of terrible news that flooded my TV screen,” she said. “Businesses were closing down all around me, but I knew that if I kept my head down and focused on my craft, that everything would be OK in the end. I knew that sewing would save me, and I also knew that the community would have my back. The beautiful distraction of sewing mixed with the positive power of the neighborhood allowed me to survive during the first few months of this pandemic.”

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