The volunteers at Bloomington Mask Drive have long been a source of inspiration and hope for our community. Now that the holiday season is here, the ongoing pandemic is breaking hearts by standing in the way of or over cherished family gatherings. It is robbing us of our loved ones at a frightening clip and in many ways the pandemic is more out of control than it has ever been. Our annual season of gratitude, giving, and celebration is and will look different this year, but the generous volunteers of Bloomington Mask Drive are, as always, determined to make the best of things.
Step one: discuss and experiment with how to best use leftover scraps of fabric for eight months
Step two: make 40,000 masks and teach volunteers how to sew in chains for efficiency
Step three: play “mask boa” with strings of completed masks
Step four: discuss how amazing a little Christmas garland made of masks would be in front of industrious and creative volunteers
Step five: wait.
BMD volunteer Kim Nistelbeck is a long time mask-maker and started volunteering in person at Endwright in September. Since then she has become a regular, and this week she not ONLY brought in a gorgeous little mask garland (which she hand made herself, naturally!) and hand-made mask ornaments, she also wrote not one, but TWO Christmas poems for BMD!
After a typical day volunteering at BMD, Kim was listening to a reading of the classic Christmas poem “A Visit from Saint Nicholas,” and felt inspired to write the following poems (two!) for us. We have hung them in the window next to our Christmas tree. It is a pretty sweet little window display – take that, Macy’s! (just kidding, we love Macy’s.)
Bloomington Mask Drive Christmas Poem
‘Twas the month before Christmas and all through the house,
the mask making elves were NOT as quiet as a mouse.
The masks they were making were piled all around
their sewing machines made a whirring sound.
Nola is wishing she was snug in her bed,
but visions of fabric danced in her head.
Kell was counting and sorting, wearing her rose colored shoes,
really wishing she was done so she could take a snooze.
Then in through the door Kelly sprang with a clatter.
Everyone wondering what was the matter.
Into the room she ran like a flash,
tripped over some elastic and kicked over the trash.
More masks! More fabric! More bags! More supplies!
More elastic! More thread! They heard her cry.
Then what to her wondering eyes did appear
but a room full of “mask elves” (really our volunteers).
Sewing and cutting and sorting so quick,
the masks that help keep us from getting sick.
The bundles were sorted, counted and packed.
Kelly hoisted a bunch onto her back.
“Great job! Keep it up! Way to go! You’re the best!”
With a wink of her eye and a turn of her head,
she drew in a breath and kindly said,
“Thanks to you all for all you do. You really are an awesome crew.”
We then heard her exclaim as she ran out of sight,
“I’ll be back soon for more, now have a good night.”
by Kim Nistelbeck, 11/28/2020
BMD Mask Elves Poem Christmas 2020
Its the year 2020 and Chrismas is near.
The B.M.D. elves are making something to wear.
No toys or playthings in their shop can be found
but fabric, elastic, and sewing machine sounds.
Because of the virus, we all could get sick,
Keep your distance! Wash your hands! Wear a mask! is the trick.
In the month of March, Kelly and Nola saw the need,
put their talents together, “We can help, indeed!”
Supplies and the mask elves were gathered along,
sewing and sewing, still going strong.
Making masks in the day and into the night,
we’re working hard, not a break in sight.
Kell guides us on, helps us sort the sizes,
keeps track of it all and organizes.
The B.M.D. is beyond compare. Our masks are free for you to wear.
We have other helpers besides the sewers,
sorters, deliverers, mask station creators
but we couldn’t continue without our donators.
We’ll all work together, ’til this pandemic is though,
then take a rest that’s long overdue.
by Kim Nistelbeck, 11/28/2020
Thank you Kim, for all you do! We’re happy to have you on this awesome crew!!!
Happy Holidays from Bloomington Mask Drive, and especially from Nola and me, Kelly!