MIDDLETON, Idaho — A Middleton teacher and a retired teacher say they have sewn over 10,000 face masks for those who need them. It started with Kelli Hudson and Carol Quinby making masks for friends and family and grew to them shipping masks to 18 states and three countries.
The two first started sewing masks on March 20 then took a break while COVID-19 cases remained low. Thanks to a surge in cases, Hudson and Quinby are continuing their massive undertaking.
Hudson, a high school teacher in Middleton, was inspired by a news article.
"So I sent it to Carol and when I got up the next morning Carol was already sewing," Hudson said.
They then began making face masks for friends and family and offered the rest for free on Facebook.
"The next morning, we had 1,500 people who requested face masks so we looked at each other and said, 'I guess we're going to start sewing face masks,'" Quinby said.
From there, their work soon expanded and they quickly made nearly 10,000 face masks.
"I just felt like every person we could get to wear a mask was reducing the risk by one more person," Hudson said.
"It's humbling to know that I can do my part," Quinby said. "When I was younger a lot of people helped me and this is my way of paying it forward to a new generation."
By June, the two had used over 4 football fields of fabric for their homemade masks. They have sent them to nursing homes, the Navajo Nation, a VA center, massage schools and various local businesses.
"Every one of them, when we pick them up, we can see a story behind each one of them like why we picked that fabric or what we were thinking when we were sewing them," Hudson explained.
Their efforts have now reached those in need outside of Idaho.
"We're in about 18 states now and three countries," Hudson said. "We have California, Oregon, Washington state, Nevada, Colorado, Texas, Germany, Japan."
The duo did slow down their work when COVID-19 remained fairly low, but the statewide and national spike in cases is causing more people to reach out for one.
"If we're going to get through this, it's because we all worked together," Hudson said.
Hudson told KTVB on Saturday that Saint Alphonsus placed an order of masks with them.
Quinby and Hudson also wanted to thank Hudson's husband for his help and the community for all of the support they've received.
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