Pelham man helping by making masks for fellow residents

By NATHAN HOWELL | Special to the Reporter

PELHAM – Donny Cook spent the majority of his time over the past weekend sewing more than 120 masks to provide an alternative to paying exorbitant prices for homemade masks.

Cook is a nurse working in hospice care, but he is currently unable to work because he is more susceptible to COVID-19 due to stage four cancer.

“I really felt like I was not doing my part to help,” Cook said. “I’ve got so many friends that are on the frontlines and I have to stay home. I cannot get out and help people, because I am at more of a risk.”

While in quarantine, he spent a lot of time thinking about how he could help. He started browsing through the community Facebook pages and realized that there was a particular need that he could help with.

“I saw that some of my friends in these groups were talking about how people were charging $15 or $20 for masks,” he said. “I thought that was outrageous, because most people cannot afford to spend that kind of money right now, and they don’t have the option of going to stores to buy them.”

He said he began thinking about a way to combat this problem, and realized that he could just make the masks as a service to his local community, to fulfill his need to help from a safe distance.

“I saw some people in the groups saying they couldn’t afford to pay the price others were charging for the masks, and I told them I would make them for free,” he said. “After that, I made a post and had over 40 different families reach out to me.”

Even though there is no physical or close personal contact, Cook explained that he has felt more connected to his community than ever. He has a system for safely giving people their masks which allows him to connect with the people picking them up from a safe distance.

For those seeking to serve their community, Cook has some very straightforward advice.

“Think about what you can do during this time for somebody else, and do it,” he said.

Cook is making the masks completely for free. However, if anyone is interested in helping, he said he would take donations however people would like to give them, including supplies to help make more.

Anyone interested in getting a mask can reach out to him at Facebook.com/donny.cook.