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Annette Cook: Unmasking a Killingworth Mask Maker

By Kathy Brown.

(April 17, 2020) — On April 9, we shared that Annette Cook of Killingworth was making masks to give to Killingworth residents who needed them. On Tuesday, April 7, she headed to the Transfer Station, and gave out 85 masks, along with 20 on her way there. She said she would keep making them as long as people needed them and “as long as my sewing machines hold up!”

There’s a dedicated group of mask makers in Killingworth and Haddam who are making masks for healthcare workers as well, but Annette is making them for Killingworth residents, who have been advised by the CDC to wear them in public when they’ll be in close proximity such as when they go grocery shopping, or to the pharmacy. “I started doing this because I noticed that lots of people were sewing masks for health care, which is awesome,” said Annette. “But the general public didn’t have many options. Some Etsy sellers are charging ridiculous prices for masks, which annoys me. So many people have lost their jobs; now is not the time to profit from a crisis.”

Annette had a handbag business for nine years, which closed at the end of 2018, but she still had the equipment and fabric, which she set up to mass produce the simple mask design. “It’s helping me because my family has had some pretty devastating things to deal with over the past few years,” explained Annette. “I was in a very dark place. I couldn’t bring myself to do much of anything. But this project has given me such incredible joy, knowing it’s helping ease the fear of at least a few people.” She has gone through 200 yards of elastic, and has more on order. She has also gotten innovative, and cut up tights and Spandex yoga pants to use in the place of elastic, “which works great,” she said.

Annette gives them to anyone who asks. “If they can’t make it to the Transfer Station on the days I’m there, we arrange for a no-contact pick up.” She has given out mask number 801 yesterday, and she is still making more.

When people offer to pay her, she just encourages them to pay it forward to others (though if people insist, she passes the donation on to the Killingworth Lions Club so that they can continue their work). She does take donations of fabric though, so she can keep making them.

So if you see Annette at the Transfer Station handing out masks, wave a hello to someone helping our community. I know that I am thankful to live in a community like ours.



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