Facial masks still in demand in Sun City

Residents busy producing them


When Jim Hunter, Sun City Home Owners Association board president, arrived at the office an hour before a mask giveaway there, he saw a long line of residents waiting to get them from AT&T.

SCHOA officials provided the location for the April 30 giveaway by the communications company, that had volunteers there to hand out the masks. Upon his arrival, Mr. Hunter saw a line the stretched from the SCHOA parking lot halfway to 103rd Avenue. The giveaway was not scheduled to begin until 8 a.m. By 7:20 a.m. the line appeared to go all the way to 103rd Avenue. AT&T volunteers asked if they needed to wait until the 8 a.m. publicized opening of the event.

“I saw no reason to wait and have those people standing in line, especially since the street was now full of parked vehicles and traffic was becoming an issue,” Mr. Hunter stated in an email.

That did not sit well with some people who, when the supply of masks ran out prior to 8 a.m., did not get one.

“Some people expressed extreme displeasure at the giveaway opening before 8 a.m.,” Mr. Hunter stated.

The event illustrated that facial masks remain in demand by residents, and that stretches to the medical community. Some Sun City residents are working to fill the demand. The Bell Stitchers Club started making masks from members’ home almost immediately after Recreation Centers of Sun City officials closed the corporation’s facilities. Other residents joined the effort.

Terri Hill, with the help of some neighbors and a friend that is staying with her, produced more than 1,100 masks and is still going. She got into the effort after hearing from her children, who are in the health care field, that masks were in short supply.

“At first they went to the hospitals, but then we got calls from individual doctors and clinics,” Ms. Hill said.

She added masks she makes are also given to friends or others who need them.

“We don’t sell the masks, we give them away,” Ms. Hill said. “If people want to make donations, either material or monetary to buy materials, that helps defray the cost.”

People who need masks or want to donate are asked to text Ms. Hill at 928-273-2605.

Donna Schwitz and Patricia Wilson are also making masks.

“Since we are in the ‘stay home’ mode I wanted to do something for friends, family and our community,” Ms. Schwitz stated in an email. “I began making masks from scraps of material I had. When I ran out I purchased more material and elastic.”

So far, she has donated more than 75 to friends, family and several other people in the community. She also donated 25 masks to small businesses.

“I will continue making masks throughout the pandemic,” Ms. Schwitz stated. 

Ms. Wilson donated 90 masks to her daughter’s place of employment and other small businesses. She is also making them for family and friends.

“I make about 10 masks per day,” Ms. Wilson stated in an email.

She also plans to continue making masks as long as the pandemic persists.

Ms. Hill said if she did nothing but make masks all day, she and her helpers could produce up to 50 per day.

“But there are other things that need done during the day,” she said.

Mask demand was steadily going up until last week when it began to level off, Ms. Hill said.

“There is still a need out there,” she added.

Ms. Hill said facial masks will not stop anyone from getting sick, but they do help people remind themselves to not touch their faces, part of the guidelines recommended by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials. They also recommend people wear the masks whenever they are in public.

SCHOA officials will continue to offer space for such events as the April 30 mask giveaway whenever asked and will help inform residents of similar events.

“We sympathize if you were not able to get a mask and want to thank you for your patience,” Martha Lattie, SCHOA marketing director, stated in an email. “If we hear of any other similar events, we will publicize them.”