In the new world of COVID-19, some people have adapted, others are struggling, and some have found new purpose. Julia Strain saw a need and got to work.
In March, when everything was shutting down, Julia was dusting off her sewing machine.She, and several others in the valley, knew face masks were going to be needed. Julia, a paramedic practice educator for the Northwest and Nechako districts, is used to caring for people and identifying need.
She knew the valley would need masks and a lot of them. Since March 15, Julia has made over 1,930 masks. She has donated more than 600 to the Bulkley Valley District Hospital, 200 to community members and more than 200 to family and friends.
She began by using leftover material and as she continued to donate masks, others joined in to help by providing fabric, elastic and adjustable nose pieces. She has learned much along the way, perfecting and refining her masks, finding sources for softer elastics and more material.
And as coincidence would have it, Out of Hand, a new co-op store in town, provided her with an opportunity to sell some masks to offset costs.
It has become a family affair as her husband Dennis Strain helps pick up material, helps turn the masks right side out as she sews them and delivers them to Out of Hand as they need them.
Julia also comments laughingly, “Dennis has become quite the cook since I started all of this.”
Dennis and Julia also developed a website, www.sew-what.xyz, to take orders.
What started as an idea there will be a need has grown into a side business that has blossomed.
“On my first day posting an ad on Facebook, I received over 100 orders for masks,” she said.
“Since then, she has received orders from Seabridge Gold and their exploration camps and many others.
Her main goals are to continue to donate and sell her masks, and, six months into the pandemic, continue to work full time, sew every evening, and on her days off and “will continue to do so as long as there is a need.”