Making masks for a cause

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Photo of Samantha with one of her handmade masks, courtesy of Samantha Maybaum

Leia Gluckman staff writer

Heading to the recycling center every other week used to be part of sophomore Samantha Maybaum’s routine. She would donate the proceeds to various charities. But, since deciding that dropping off recycling is no longer sade, Maybaum has looked for a new way to give back: selling masks.

Sophomore Samantha Maybaum has found new ways to give to others while quarantined while gathering recycling is no longer deemed safe. 

For the past five years Maybaum has been donating to Guide Dogs of America and the Israeli Guide Dog Center using money from recycled cans and plastic bottles. Since the pandemic pushed California  into quarantine, Maybaum deemed it “unsafe” to be “touching [cans and bottles] and spreading germs,” so she decided to start making and customizing masks.

So far, Maybaum has sold over 90 masks through friends and instagram DMs (@samanthamaybaum) and donated $1,000 to each of the previously mentioned organizations.

“This all started when I made a plain mask for Samantha and she hand-painted a design on it,” Laurie Maybaum, Samantha’s mom, said.

Photo of Samantha’s first mask print, courtesy of Samantha Maybaum.

After seeing Samantha’s design, “I thought we could make a ton of designs with our [Cricut] cutting machine,” Laurie said. “She is responsible for the artwork and I do the sewing.” 

Each mask takes anywhere from 25 minutes to two hours to make. Some of Samantha’s designs include imitations of various popular brand logos.

Throughout the process, Samantha and Laurie have run out of fabric “really fast.”

“We’ve had to go to Joann’s [the fabric store] multiple times, sometimes to the Valley which can take up to two hours,” Samantha said. “That was kind of a hassle. We’ve asked our neighbors for strings and elastic. They’ve given us some, which we’re very thankful for.”

The two have taken a pause from mask making as they are now fostering and training a golden retriever, Wednesday, for Guide Dogs of America.

“I felt like I couldn’t do anything while I was stuck at home and I felt bad because people were risking their lives every single day to go help sick people,” Samantha said. “I thought, ‘Hey if I make masks it’ll help people protect themselves and stop the spread of the virus.’”

By making “stylish” masks, Samantha hopes that people will want to cover their faces and slow the spread of the virus.

“If we continue to make masks,” Laurie said, “I’m going to teach her how to use the sewing machine so she can be more involved than she already is. I’m really proud of her that she is always looking to help people that are in need.”

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