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Viral Kindness
During this COVID-19 crisis, people are stepping up and spreading goodwill. We want to hear about the ways in which Kansans are responding to this emergency with compassion, and shine a light on the humans that exemplify humanity.Every other Friday, we'll share your stories on KMUW's new commentary, Viral Kindness.Share your experience. Use the 'Talk to Us' feature on the KMUW app, or leave a voicemail at (316) 978-6789.

Viral Kindness: The DIY PPE Queen

courtesy photo

Peggy Smith is the office administrator for Haysville United Methodist Church, but after being inspired by a message from the church pastor, Peggy has added in a COVID-19 endeavor: making masks.

"I get home from work at 4:30. I’ll make masks until six. Then I stop, we eat dinner, and then I’ll go back downstairs from seven to eleven and work on them," Smith explains. "And then my husband’s job: He turns them inside out for me and presses the seams so it’s nice and flat. And then I put the pleats in and topstitch it. He started cutting elastic that people brought in, so he just sat down and made a little template so he could cut the pieces of elastic. And I also taught him how to use a rotary cutter and a quilting ruler so he can cut fabric out for me.

"We’ve been married 45 years, [and] we still find all kinds of things to talk about."

It puts Peggy’s semi-industrial sewing machine and quilting skills to good use: call her the DIY PPE Queen. In two months, she and her husband have made over 1,000 masks and used social media to find recipients. Donors drop off cotton fabric and elastic ties on her porch whenever she runs out of material.

"I’ve sent masks to Florida, Georgia, Minnesota, Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, several people here in Wichita. One of our big orders that we had was for a nursing home in Derby. We’ve given them 160 masks," Smith says. "So I have 100% cotton print on the front, and then on the back I use flannel, so it’s softer against your face. I just sat down with my Bible one Saturday morning and prayed about it and said, 'God, show me what we can do to be helpful,' and then I got the text message from Pastor Jennifer and I started that afternoon."

If you have a story to share, use the KMUW app or leave us a voicemail at 316-978-6789.

Sarah Jane Crespo is the Director of Community Engagement at KMUW. She is the creator and host of Engage ICT and the weekly Engage ICT Mini series.