Jessica Johnson of Biddeford is making masks that she is donating to health care facilities in Maine and around the nation. Courtesy photo

BIDDEFORD — “It goes back to when my mom died in 2002,” Jessica Johnson said in a recent telephone interview. “She said go out an do something good.”

And that’s exactly what the Biddeford resident has tried to do since then, from volunteering to revive the Biddeford High School marching band to her latest endeavor, making and donating masks for health care workers around the country.

In addition to helping revive the BHS marching band she also helped start a winter percussion group at the high school, said Johnson, who also happens to be the reigning Mrs. Biddeford. But with the advent of the novel coronavirus pandemic, the percussion group season was cut shot.

“I started looking around to do something else,” she said. “I always have that drive to help people.”

Johnson, who is a seamstress and owns her own business, Soul Stitcher, LLC in Biddeford, decided to put her skills to good use and began making masks that she donates to health care facilities.

The masks, made of cotton and polyurethane, known as PUL, are waterproof, washable and reusable. They are non-latex and use ties instead of elastics so they can be more comfortable and usable for those with a latex allergy, Johnson said.

Biddeford resident Jessica Johnson is recruiting volunteers to help her make masks that she donates to health care facilities in Maine and around the country. Courtesy photo

Although she only began the task of making masks a couple of weeks ago, she said “the more I do the more people need.”

“It’s incredible,” Johnson said.

Through her pageant connections, Johnson said, she’s been shipping out the masks — she can pump one out every 10 minutes – around the country. “I’ve been shipping them out to Fort Worth, Texas, Sarasota, Florida. It’s become this crazy national thing.”

Johnson has also donated her masks closer to home. She received a request from Biddeford and Dayton Superintendent of Schools Jeremy Ray who wants to provide them to those who are distributing meals for those ages 18 and younger.

“I have staff that works with the food programs and in the buildings each day that are feeling a bit uneasy about everything,” Ray said. “Since I didn’t want to take PPE (personal protective equipment) from hospitals, I thought it would be good to get people something they can choose to reuse. I just want all of the staff to be as healthy as possible. They are some of the true heroes through all of this.”

In addition to the Biddeford school district, Johnson said she’s been making masks for health care facilities in the state.

“I’m working on these around the clock,” she said.

In fact, Johnson has had so many requests for masks that she is looking for volunteers to help her — she has kits people can pick up and online tutorials on how to make them — as well as donations to purchase material and pay for mailing the items which she provides for free to health care workers and facilities.

“Volunteers and donations are vital,” Johnson said.

To help with the effort by making masks and/or donating financially, contact Jessica Johnson directly at 207-730-8754, [email protected] or visit the Facebook pages for either Soul Stitcher LLC, Mrs. Biddeford 2020 or Jessica Johnson.



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