Stephens County cousins make PPE to aid community
With the shortage of masks around the country, Jane and Marlena Lenior, first cousins, have risen to the challenge to provide personal protective equipment (PPE) for first responders and citizens during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Marlena’s mother and Jane’s father were siblings and the cousins have had Stephens County in their blood for over a century. Their grandfather left Mississippi and traveled to the county to start a ranch between Breckenridge and Woodson. The family has made the county home ever since.
While watching the devastation of COVID-19, the cousins were looking for a way to help the community.
“We were watching the news and I started to talk to Jane about making masks and the more we talked about it, the more we wanted to do it,” Marlena said.
The process began for the two cousins as they cut out designs and sewed materials together to assist citizens during this period of crisis.
“For a long time we have been thrift store shopping,” Marlena said. “I was looking to sell some things, but now with the virus going around, we were stuck inside. We thought it would be a great idea to help first responders and people in the community by making masks to help during this difficult time.”
The cousins’ mask making follows the guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). On Friday, April 3, the CDC recommended that all individuals wear a non-medical, face-covering mask in public settings.
According to the CDC, the mask would assist with preventing the spread of COVID-19 through the air by citizens with no symptoms.
Top health officials warned that the mask should not replace social distancing and hand-washing.
“We were not making masks before this pandemic,” Jane said. “The purpose of this was to assist in protecting people. We wanted to make 100% cotton masks for citizens to protect themselves.”
From designs of a Razorback, to masks made from bikini material, the cousins are designing and distributing materials to citizens who are in need.
The cousins have started distributing the masks and plan to make more to combat the spread of COVID-19.
“Most important, we want to distribute to the places that are still open and work near food and grocery,” Marlena said. “This is our way of giving back to our community.”