Like many people during this crisis, we really wanted to help people but had no idea how to do that from home.
Just like that, the phone buzzed and Carolyn Comitta said she had a project in mind for us. She and fellow do-gooders wanted to call on Chester County residents to make masks for the hardworking essential, (non-healthcare) community workers of Chester County to protect themselves.
We started brainstorming the best ways to organize and spread the word about the “Chester County Masketeers” project and developed the following systems:
With so many moving pieces, we didn’t want volunteer coordinators to be inundated with redundant emails and Facebook messages. CPM stitched together a website with step-by-step instructions for sewers and donors, project updates, specific ways people could help, and direct calls to action.
We created brandable content to mobilize our Chester County Masketeers and spread the word about the project. After all, the more people we reach, the more lives we can protect. There is nothing more iconic to call people to action like Rosie the Riveter! Kyle added a mask and gloves to our hardworking gal, whose image is in the public domain.
Facebook Page and Group
This project has two main audiences, the volunteers and supporters. To keep up supporters and outside stakeholders informed, we created the “Chester County Masketeers” Facebook Page.
The “Chester County Masketeers Volunteer Discussion Group” is where we directed all volunteers and donors. The volunteer group has daily, passionate discussions about volunteer opportunities, sewing tips, encouraging photos, and available materials. We (ok, Leslie) is a sucker for a good organization system and was delighted to discover “topics.” Think of these as tags that admins and members can add to their posts to make it easier to find info.
In Just a Month…
When we started this project a month ago, we had no idea what kind of response we would get. We hit the ground running and the project’s coordinators had to develop systems as we went.
- Our “team” went from four to 20 behind-the-seam coordinators, a volunteer manager, a donation coordinator, social media coordinators, and communication managers.
- There are now ten drop-off sites around the county. Each site is managed by a coordinator that picks up the masks and delivers them to a predetermined location by our volunteer coordinator.
- Some volunteers have sewn 20 masks while others have sewn 2,000.
- The Masketeers have made and distributed 5,454 masks for county workers and organizations that serve at-risk populations across the county. The sewers moved so quickly, that even the mission evolved!
During a time of divisiveness and apathy, it is truly beautiful to see so many others helping out their community and some of our county’s most vulnerable members. The toughest times bring out the best in people.