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Community & Business

31 July, 2021

Mask up

Elders at Gilgandra’s Indigenous Ministries Church are doing their bit in the fight against COVID-19.

By Emily Middleton

“As Elders, it gives us something to do. We want to do our part for the Gilgandra community and the COVID-19 situation,” said Elder Lois Towney.

Every so often, when time permits, a group of six women come together to stitch up masks. There’s no set order, they just turn up to the church hall, and sew for as long or as little as they like. Customers have come mainly through word of mouth, and people all over Australia have reached out to the ladies to sew masks for them. Sometimes, it’s even been difficult to stay on top of them all.

Originally, the group weren’t going to make masks, as trying to work around the lockdown rules of 2020 were too difficult. But when the second wave of COVID-19 hit this year, the women banded together to sell masks. The group also make microwave bowl holders, ties, and scrunchies.

After selling a couple thousand masks, the women were able to put that money back into the purchasing of materials, and now have the ability to update things around the church.

Through the empowering our communities’ program: community wellbeing and drought support grant round three, the church received funding to help cover the costs of some of their resources. These included floor covering to make the hall safer to work in, the purchase of two sewing machines, and improvements to building security.

The women are all self-taught when it comes to sewing, and the masks are giving them a reason to teach the children to sew as well. Ms Towney’s niece, Storm, has already been shown the basics from her aunties. Ms Towney is only a recent sewer herself, having learned from other Elders last year.


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