The New Hope Clubhouse was fortunate enough to have cloth masks donated in April 2020. While it was closed to members due to COVID-19, Clubhouse staff members, Andrea Brand and Lynn Bunnell, mailed one of the masks to 100 members as an encouragement to wear a mask. It was becoming necessary to wear a mask when in any public location.
When Clubhouse re-opened slowly in the middle of May, it was policy for everyone to wear a mask. Clubhouse staff realized that one wasn’t enough, as many of the members had not worn them prior or struggled with how to wear them correctly. With awareness of new COVID-19 guidelines, we were able to locate a Cricut mask pattern that covered the nose and mouth more efficiently. Lynn Chupp, a Clubhouse staff member, took the design and decided to try to make a few at home to see how well this pattern would work. She made a few and found that they were not only needed but very much wanted by staff and members. Lynn Chupp found different ways to adapt this pattern to fit different facial shapes and personal preferences.
As mask production increased for her, Lynn found different resources for the material needed to make the masks, including garage sales and thrift stores. Donations and hunting down deals, has helped to lower the cost for supplies. Members have played a big part in obtaining fabric, for example, Randy McDonald, a Clubhouse member, donated fabric that he had at home. Lynn was particular in the type of material used and only accepted material that was 100% cotton.
When Clubhouse recognized her for her donation of time and energy, Lynn Chupp shared with the Clubhouse staff and members that she has experienced first-hand the importance of following the COVID-19 guidelines. (Please see photo wear Lynn is wearing one of the masks she made.) Lynn has been quarantined twice, and on both occasions, thankfully, did not test positive. Lynn’s father-in-law passed away from COVID-19 in April, her husband tested positive in May and was very ill as well as both her elderly parents, all who have recovered.
Lynn Chupp shared, “I initially found making masks to be my coping skill to handle the stressors and allow me to do something positive in a negative situation. It is such a mission now that my thoughts continue, ‘If I can prevent one person from getting sick, it is well worth all the time spent. I do not want anyone to suffer the struggles and worry that my family has.’” She also shared that she is hoping that people see the time, concern, and caring that she puts into every mask as an example of the importance of following the guidelines for not only our safety but for the protection of others.
Lynn has made over 200 masks for the Clubhouse Thrift Store, where they sell like hotcakes. They are on sale for only $1.00 each, so members can afford them and can have more than one. The goal is to promote wearing a clean mask every day. In one day alone on August 10, 2020, Lynn brought in 58 masks she had made over the weekend, and 38 sold in 3 hours! Any profit made from the Thrift Store is donated to the member’s social fund.
When you walk down the street or shop in the four counties of Northeast Indiana, you may see someone wearing a cute mask made by Lynn Chupp.
New Hope Clubhouse is a voluntary program that provides the support adults need to regain confidence and self-esteem.
The Clubhouse provides opportunities for the enhancement of social skills, to develop relationships, and to break the cycle of social isolation that is so common among adults with mental illness.
The ultimate goal of the Clubhouse is to help people get real jobs in the community.