RICHMOND – First they defended our country. Now, they’re creating a first line of defense in the war against COVID-19 in Fort Bend County.
Women veterans affiliated with Catholic Charities’ Women Veterans Program are making fabric masks to protect the many volunteers distributing food at the Mamie George Community Center (MGCC) in Richmond, the hub for Catholic Charities services in Fort Bend County.
Volunteers are already sporting some of the 100 fabric masks made so far by Audrey Adams, Shelia Chatman, Leena Dees, and Catie and Trish Long, using fabric and materials donated by the JOANN Fabric and Craft store in Sugar Land.
The masks are being put to good use on Tuesdays and Thursdays, when volunteers flock to MGCC to help load groceries into a long line of waiting vehicles driven by families in need of food assistance.
In mid-March, MGCC took precautionary measures to protect clients and staff during the COVID-19 pandemic. Rather than bringing clients inside Trini’s Market, the food pantry at MGCC, Catholic Charities is enforcing safe social distancing by asking clients to remain in their vehicles while their food is loaded. Since March 18, MGCC and its volunteers served more than 5,000 individuals, providing nearly 30,000 pounds of nonperishables, fresh produce and meat.
“Our health care professionals have the most critical need for the higher-grade medical masks,” said Glady Brumfield-James, MGCC executive director. “We’re protecting our volunteers in Fort Bend County by using fabric masks as a recommended alternative.”
The Women Veterans Program at MGCC supports women who have served our country through services such as financial assistance, career coaching, mental health counseling and peer groups. Susan Jaroszewski coordinates the program in Fort Bend County.
“I’m delighted that area women veterans are stepping up to help with mask production,” said Jaroszewski. “Their enthusiasm is contagious. They’re recruiting others to hit the sewing machines to protect our volunteers and our community.”
Mamie George Community Center houses Catholic Charities services in Fort Bend County. Typically, hundreds of seniors come to the center for fellowship, activities and nutritious weekday meals. Early in the onset of the pandemic, MGCC asked seniors to stay home for their own protection and supplied their nutritional needs by providing shelf-stable meals to last them until the center can safely re-open.
“Through the grace of God, not even a pandemic can keep Catholic Charities from providing our life-changing services,” said Catholic Charities President Cynthia N. Colbert, MSW. “We are people of faith relying on God’s protection as we help people during this time of great need.”
Requests for help during the pandemic can be directed to the Catholic Charities’ central COVID Assistance Line at 713.874.6521, or by email at covidassistance@CatholicCharities.org.