For immediate release: May 28, 2020
Contact: Paula Merrington
Local Candidates’ Competition Results in Nearly 6,500 Masks
Assembled for Community Group Supplying Local Nonprofits
St. Charles, IL – When a local grass-roots organization supplying masks to area nonprofit groups called on volunteers to amp up efforts, three local leaders stepped up with a friendly competition and inspired their communities to meet the challenge, resulting in nearly 6,500 masks being assembled in a three-day period.
“We were truly awestruck by the response from our community and the three candidates who inspired them to action,” said Sue Sanders, a St. Charles resident and Mask Up Kane County (MUKC) volunteer.
That response was spearheaded by Geneva resident Martha Paschke, democratic candidate for Illinois’ 65th House District, who felt that a friendly mask-making competition over Memorial Day weekend would be a great way to help members of her community and to introduce others to the great work MUKC is doing. Teams led by Jamie Mosser, candidate for Kane County state’s attorney, and Maura Hirschauer, who is running in IL House District 49, quickly signed on and their joint efforts pushed the group’s mask distribution total to more then 55,000 since its inception.
“If there is one thing I know about my team and my community, it’s that they will always step up when there is a need,” said Paschke. “I’d heard that Mask Up Kane County was concerned about being able to continue to meet the need for masks, and knew that we could help.”
Participants were provided with no-sew mask kits that included instructions and materials — auto shop cloths, paper clips, rubber bands and zip ties — to make 25 masks. With more than 350 volunteers and donors, MUKC provides such kits to anyone wanting to help in the effort to supply masks to area nonprofits, including homeless shelters such as Lazarus House in St. Charles and Hesed House in Aurora and Mutual Ground, a shelter for domestic violence survivors in Aurora.
“Our strength is in our unity,” said Hirschauer of Batavia. “We came together from all corners of Kane County to make masks for Mask Up Kane County. We were blown away by the support for this wonderful organization and grateful to be a part of such an impactful and uplifting weekend,” Hirschauer said.
“I was thrilled to have Maura Hirschauer and Jamie Mosser’s teams join us in the challenge, and while I knew we’d make a lot of masks, I was still amazed by the amount of energy and passion our teams turned out to meet the need,” said Paschke.
Sanders, who helps pack the supply kits, said the organization already had 350 volunteers when the competition began, and was amazed when the orders for new kits just kept coming from the three candidates. Just a few days prior, MUKC volunteers were concerned that participation would begin to drop off as the weather gets nicer and businesses begin to reopen.
The competition really took off when Mosser released a playful video on social media claiming her team could produce more masks than Team Paschke.
“I am extremely grateful to have had this opportunity to give back to the community in such a fun way. I would also like to thank my fellow candidates for their willingness to make such a big impact on those in need,” Mosser said.
Sanders said the experience was rewarding for all involved and she hopes that community members will continue to support MUKC as long as the need continues.
“We are so grateful for this competition that the local candidates created over the Memorial Day weekend,” said Sanders. She also was impressed that the candidates opted to declare the community a winner rather than revealing which candidate had inspired the most completed kits. “The volunteers received benefits as well as a stronger sense of community, team spirit, improved social connections, and a stress reliever for the competitors. Another positive outcome, lives are being saved by the masks being crafted and distributed, while supporting their favorite candidate. Win/Win from the Mask Up Kane County perspective,” she said.
For more information on volunteering or donating Mask Up Kane County, visit www.maskupkanecounty.org.