Grassroots initiative Masks Sewn With Love donates 50,000 masks to vulnerable groups

Retiree Amy Lee has made more than 300 masks to donate. PHOTO: MASKS SEWN WITH LOVE

SINGAPORE - Having to undergo chemotherapy did not stop retiree Amy Lee, 71, from doing her part for charity.

The grandmother of six, who had a relapse of breast cancer last year, made more than 300 masks in the past month as part of a grassroots initiative called Masks Sewn With Love.

"Making the masks made me a part of a larger community who showed me care and concern, and my spirits were lifted," Madam Lee told The Straits Times on Saturday (May 9).

About 50,000 cloth masks made by volunteers will be donated to vulnerable groups, Masks Sewn With Love said on Wednesday.

The initiative started with 35 volunteers in Punggol West who wanted to make masks for children during the nationwide mask distribution exercise in February.

At least 1,000 volunteers, including those from People's Association and the Centre for Domestic employees, had sewn the masks, said Masks Sewn With Love organising team lead Kitson Leonard Lee.

Some 10,000 masks are earmarked for groups such as children and young people in shelters.

Another 30,000 masks will go to vulnerable communities here such as the elderly and cleaners, with the last 10,000 masks going to domestic workers.

Madam Lee said she found out about the initiative through a friend who is a volunteer.

"I found the process very convenient. You just have to wrap up the masks and write the organisation's name on the envelope before putting them into postboxes," she said in Mandarin.

Sewing the masks has been a welcome distraction from her body pains from her weekly chemotherapy sessions, she added.

"I had posted about my condition on the Facebook group, and many well-meaning messages poured into my inbox," she said.

The well-wishers made her feel less lonely at a time when her three children and six grandchildren cannot visit due to social distancing measures, Madam Lee added.

The former hawker shares a three-room flat in Tanglin Halt with her husband, who is also retired. He used to be a maintenance worker.

"The (4,700-member) Facebook group feels like my stand-in family," Madam Lee said.

The organising team's Mr Lee said the initiative can bring together different members of a family to work towards a common cause.

"There is a role for everyone in the family - from tracing the templates to... the sewing," he said.

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