CHAPIN, S.C. (WIS) - A Chapin woman has raised more than $28,000 dollars for an area charity by making and selling face masks.
Nancy Williamson has even coined the name “The Chapin Mask Lady,” and her family and friends have jumped in to help.
When the pandemic first hit in March, Williamson says she went on YouTube to watch videos of how to make face masks. She gave out nearly 1,000 for free because she wanted to keep her community safe.
“They wanted to pay me, and we would say, ‘No, just wear your mask be healthy.’ Some people would leave me toilet paper or some people would bring me wine, but we didn’t want to take any money from it we wanted just to help everybody,” Williamson explained.
The mask-making project quickly gained the interest of the community, and Williamson’s sister, Rebecca Bittinger, and neighbor, Kelley McCutchen, jumped in to help. Together, the group can sew nearly 300 face masks a day.
During Midlands Gives Day in May, Williamson decided to start asking people for a $10 donation for each mask, with a goal of raising a couple hundred dollars for Chapin’s “We Care” Center. “We Care” provides rent and utility relief, as well as food, for families in need. After a match from the “We Care” board and Dominion Energy, Williamson ended up raising nearly $10,000.
Williamson’s mask-making didn’t stop there. She and her team of family friends have continued to sew masks and make donations to “We Care.”
“It’s something we can do, and it doesn’t hurt us. It’s just our time,” said Williamson. “We have other folks donating supplies and even food. One of my good friends from church will drop off chicken salad and pimento cheese and keep us working through the day, so as long as there’s a need out there we’re going to continue to do it.”
Right now, she leaves dozens of masks on her front porch, or what she refers to as “face mask central.” She has a donation box and asks for a $10 donation for each mask. Williamson hopes her effort will also encourage more people in the Midlands and across the state to “mask up.”
“I think it’s important, especially with the younger folks. They don’t want to be told they have to wear a mask, and they don’t want to wear a medical mask. So, I feel like if you’re going to wear a mask, you should make sure it’s cute. I like to match my outfits,” Williamson laughed. “People think they’re uncomfortable, so anything we can do to make them more fun and make people want to wear them more is very helpful.”
Williamson also mails the masks as far away as Nevada and Indiana. She doesn’t make a profit off of the masks and purchases the fabric and supplies herself.
“It’s also been a great thing for my children and their friends to see that you can make a difference, and you can be selfless and give up your time and make a really huge impact on somebody else’s life,” she explained.
Williamson is still offering her porch pickup. You can also find the masks at Lake Murray Drug Company, The Classy Cruet in Chapin, Miss Cocky, or by calling or texting Nancy directly at 803-629-0101.