Mask-Making Efforts Lead to $5,900 in Donations

Marcie Jones stands behind the counter inside the entrance to Gentog with a few of the masks she has made. BARBARA SHERMAN/TIGARD LIFE

As the owner of Gentog for the past 12 ½ years, Marcie Jones was used to keeping a lot of plates spinning in the air. Until COVID-19 hit. 

Gentog (“Generations Together”) provides childcare for infants to children 5 years old and day care for seniors, with shared space in between their separate areas for multi-generational interaction and programs.

After being closed for two months due to the coronavirus, Gentog reopened at the end of May with many more rules and restrictions to follow. The childcare program is open under the Emergency Childcare License Guidelines, and the adult day program is open under the Emergency Adult Day Rules, plus Jones has added a school support program for students whose schools are closed.

Even with all that going on, Jones found a way to make lemonade out of lemons, or to be more correct, masks out of yards of fabric as a fundraiser for two charities.

A longtime seamstress, Jones said, “I started making masks because I had to supply the staff with them, and then I started making them for friends and family. I had masks on the counter inside the front door for people to pick up if they needed one, and some started offering to pay for them. I didn’t want money for them because this was my way to give back, so I decided to choose a charity to benefit from selling masks.

“I chose Meals on Wheels because they serve seniors. I put photos of the masks on my Facebook page and said people could get them by making a donation to Meals on Wheels, which raised $2,700.”

Jones explained that “I watched about 100 YouTube videos for different ways to make masks until I found the perfect pattern.” 

In addition, Jones is a big supporter of raising funds for research and support for people with Parkinson’s disease, which is a condition that affects the brain causing increasing loss of coordination and movement.

“My dad had Parkinson’s and died a year ago,” said Jones, and some of the senior clients at Gentog also have Parkinson’s, so Jones decided Parkinson’s Resources would be the beneficiary of her second mask fundraiser. 

People with Parkinson’s sometimes call themselves warriors or fighters, using boxing gloves as their symbol for fighting the disease. Parkinson’s Resources, which serves Oregon and Southwest Washington, sponsored several Sole Support for Parkinson’s real and virtual walks in Oregon and Vancouver in late September and early October, and Jones made multiple masks with pairs of boxing gloves on them for the Portland walk on Sept. 26.

She also has made masks using different themes, including the Portland Timbers, Disney and Black Lives Matter. “I recycled the peace sign and made masks with that,” said Jones. “People want different logos on their masks, and these days you need a mask wardrobe.”

By selling masks for $10 each, Jones has raised $3,200 for Parkinson’s Resources plus the donation to Meals on Wheels.

“They have really taken off,” said Jones. “It has been a fun thing to do, and it was a nice surprise for the agencies who got the money.”

Cathy Ranck, Gentog’s senior services director and an employee for the entire time Gentog has been open, popped into Jones’ office to pick up a stack of the Parkinson’s boxing gloves masks for the Portland walk the following day and said, “Marcie has done an amazing job. She has raised a lot of money.”

While Gentog is still in operation, it is at a reduced level, with fewer youngsters in small groups on the children’s side and only two clients allowed at one time on the senior side. But the staff has come up with creative ways to stay connected with all the regular clients making virtual visits via Zoom and “porch” visits. Part of the common area in the center of Gentog that includes a huge living room, kitchen and eating area has been turned over to the students, who work online under the supervision of a teacher. 

For more information, visit www.gentog.com or call (503) 639-2600; Gentog is located at 11335 S.W. Durham Road, Suite C5 in the Willowbrook Center in Tigard.