King City Resident Gives Away Over 700 Homemade Masks

Mary Thibert makes a variety of masks on a weekly basis ranging in sizes and patterns.

Masks are everywhere. It’s a fact nowadays. Whether you head to a supermarket or a restaurant; with the occurrence of COVID-19, the need for personal protection has increased dramatically. One local resident has helped meet the demand; in the King City community and even reaching nationwide.

Mary Thibert — an active member of the King City Lions Club with a passion for crafts — has created and given away over 700 masks for no charge.

“I figure that I’m creating [these masks] to help people, not to make a profit off of them. Some people leave a donation, but I’m not asking for it. I’ve got a lot of fabric here because of the purses I’ve made and I’ve had enough donations to buy new elastic or materials,” Thibert said. “With the donations that I’ve had, maybe it’s 50 cents, maybe it’s a dollar, but it’s not important. I’m happy for someone to get the masks and stay safe.”

Thibert’s interest in sewing began in grade school when her mother taught her how to sew, and by high school, she was creating all of her own clothes. When she moved to King City 13 years ago, she quickly joined the Lions Club and became involved.

“I’ve been treasurer for them for 11 and a half years and active in all of their activities. For years, I’ve been running the Holiday Bazaar, the courier delivery and various other things; anything that I couldn’t get anyone else to volunteer for,” she said.

After the club’s last bazaar in November, she took a break from creating until the pandemic struck and the nearby hospitals called out a need for handmade masks.

Thibert created 50 masks, but by the time she reached out, the hospitals had already found their sources. With an excess of homemade masks at the end of March, she put out a notice on the popular neighborhood connection app, Nextdoor, with many people flocking to her front door.

Mary Thibert sits next to her front-side table full of free masks for anyone to take if they are in any need. Photos by Michael Antonelli

“I had my take-it-or-leave-it table out by the front door. There’s a sign there that says ‘FREE MASKS’ with adult and children-sized masks. There’s been over 600 masks that people have come by and picked up,” she said.

As she typically amasses extra fabric from her sewing projects or donations from the community, she made her masks out of cotton prints with the insides out of white muslin.

Although she generally makes masks and leaves them on the front table, she has done special orders in the past. Thibert sent a couple of masks to Wisconsin and made 25 masks for a FedEx employee; even sending as many as 50 of these masks to Texas to help out her daughter at the reopening of a restaurant.

“My daughter is the GM of a large steakhouse in Texas. When they started to open up, she called me and said, ‘We need masks, I need about 50 of them, and they have to go with our uniform.’ Their uniforms are black and white, so I found a nice black fabric and made them. She paid for the shipping and little extra, and that was it,” she said.

Even with more and more people dawning masks in recent weeks, Thibert still finds masks vanishing off her doorstep.

I was making 40 to 50 masks per week for a while, but it has slowed a lot now.  I made 15 a few days ago, and I am making more now“ she said. “I put six out there yesterday morning, and I replaced two of them during the day, and by this morning, I had to replace two more.”

Mary Thibert plans on making more masks until the need is quenched and finds that this action in the community is a nice way to give back.

“I had people that helped me in various ways when times were tough. I thought then that ‘when I retire, I’m going to pay it back.’ So, I got involved with the Lions and have been paying it back. Actually, [helping others] makes me feel better than the people I actually help, I think. But that’s what keeps me going.”