Made in Bloomington

The congregation at Emmanuel Church in Bloomington donated the fabric for Bailey Pendleton's mask-making project. Photos courtesy of Bailey Pendleton.

As the news churned out story after story about personal protective equipment (PPE) shortages due to the global pandemic, Bailey (Brand) Pendleton, BA’12, was inspired to pick up her needle and thread.

“Sewing is a hobby of mine, which honestly made this whole idea possible,” says Pendleton, who along with her mom and a few church members, has been making reusable masks for donation since late March.

Pendleton estimates that a single mask takes roughly 20 minutes to sew from start to finish. To date, the group has created more than 500 masks—collectively dedicating nearly 200 hours to the project.

Bailey Pendleton (pictured right) recruited her mom Kristi Brand (pictured back left) and friend Ryley Phelps (pictured left) to help sew masks for the Bloomington community.

“I’m currently using flannel for the inside and basic cotton for the outside, and the same basic cotton for the string ties,” Pendleton says, noting that if a sewing machine could smoke from overuse, hers would. “The masks are washable, and it’s actually encouraged to wash or sanitize them between wears.”

Delivered in batches, Pendleton donated more than 200 masks to Wheeler Mission—a homeless shelter in Bloomington, Ind., which provides meals, clothing, and various services to 120 guests daily.

“Bailey has been supporting Wheeler for over a year through her faithful volunteer service,” says Josie Rice, community outreach coordinator at Wheeler Mission. “We have a short supply of PPE and rely on volunteers like Bailey who are willing to provide these items for our guests and staff.”

Pendleton’s remaining masks were distributed to the members of Emmanuel Church, where she’s a regular attendee.

“To help them is a joy,” she says, adding that she’ll continue making masks until the needs at Wheeler and Emmanuel have been met.

Bailey Pendleton is just one of many IU alumni who have joined in the fight against COVID-19. This story series is our way of recognizing those who are going above and beyond during this health crisis. To us, they are nothing short of heroes.

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Written By
Samantha Stutsman
Samantha Stutsman, BAJ'14, is a Bloomington, Ind., native and a senior content specialist at the IU Alumni Association.