Doing their part to help the community

By Blythe Alspaugh -

MAPLEWOOD — Two sisters in Shelby County are committed to helping with the fight to slow the spread of the coronavirus with something as simple as a sewing project.

“We felt like it was something we could do to help,” Ginny Lochard said.

Lochard and Nell Bodenmiller have been sewing since they were young, starting out in 4-H. Bodenmiller is accustomed to sewing anything from teddy bears to upholstery for cars, and sewing masks to help with the shortage is one of the easier projects she’s taken on. The idea to help came to her in mid-March, when there were reports of shortages of masks.

“It looked like there was a need, and I thought, we’ve got fabric, probably some elastic. Then I got on YouTube and there was different patterns, so I studied a couple of patterns and thought, ‘well, we can do this’,” Bodenmiller said. “It’s just a way to help. It’s something we’ve never dealt with before. You feel so helpless when you think about what’s going on, and it’s a way to help.”

Bodenmiller talked to Lochard about making masks, and soon after they had a set-up in place to make masks. When friends, family, and neighbors found out about their project, they were quick to ask how they could help, and several have donated fabric and materials so that Bodenmiller and Lochard can continue making masks to donate to hospitals like Wilson Health and nursing homes like Dorothy Love. To date, they’ve made roughly 370 masks, and are still going.

“It’s amazing. They’ve said, ‘when you run out, call us, because I can’t sew but I can buy fabric’. People have gone into their closets and they’ve pulled out fabric and gave it to us. The outreach that way has been terrific,” Bodenmiller said. “It isn’t just us.”

Bodenmiller says that the masks she and Lochard are making aren’t just for essential workers — if anyone in the community is in need of a mask, they’re more than happy to help meet that demand.

“Usually we recommend they take at least two, so you’ve got an alternate. Keep one in your car, keep one in your purse, things like that,” Bodenmiller said.

“If anybody wants a mask, all they have to do is ask—we’ll give them [however many they need],” Lochard said.

For Lochard, a retired nurse, she feels a connection to the people on the front lines, treating those who are battling the coronavirus.

“It just hits home, I guess,” Lochard said. “Also, I have long-term lung disease, so I need to be very careful for myself.”

Making the masks is important to Bodenmiller because it’s a way for her to do her part.

“It’s important to help any way we can. There’s people that think the masks are not needed, but even if they’re not needed — maybe they are. It’s a way for Ginny and I to help,” Bodenmiller said.

For anyone in need of masks, they can contact Lochard at 937-492-2777 or text Bodenmiller at 937-441-8484.

By Blythe Alspaugh

Reach the writer at 937-538-4825.

Reach the writer at 937-538-4825.