For the congregation at Santa Cruz Valley United Methodist Church in Sahuarita, finding cloth face masks in the time of the coronavirus just got a little less stressful.

The church has made cloth masks available for free to not just their members, but the whole community. They have set up a small box of them on site with the message, “Please take what you need for your household.”

The Rev. Sandy Johnson said she's been busy sewing ever since she started the project. 

"No one has them so I thought I would sew them for my congregation, take care of those folks first and I put it out on Facebook and can't keep up," she said. "We make about 30 to 50 masks every other day and they are gone. It's a big need."

Johnson got the idea from her daughter who was making masks to donate to a hospital. Johnson began wearing face masks in public during coronavirus even before the recommendation by the government and wanted to help community members access them. 

"A lot of people are pleased and I've gotten nice responses from the community," she said. "I feel a responsibility for my congregation to keep them safe through this time."

The masks have been popular and there's been days Johnson will put 40 masks out and they're gone in an hour. 

Church members have donated funds to help Johnson buy materials like fabric and elastic, which have gone fast. 

While her goal was to help others, Johnson said sewing these masks have given her a much needed bit of hope herself. 

"It helped me turn a corner because I'm not above what everyone is feeling," she said. "I was stuck, just not having a lot of energy and doing the masks has given me a spark. For me to have a little control on this little part where I can help. It's helped me feel better about our situation."

Johnson said the masks run daily and she's committed to keep sewing until she can set out 50 masks and they last a couple days. 

If people want to help, Johnson said financial donations for supplies, supplies themselves and extra hands are welcomed. Anyone who wants to help sew or contribute can email the church at office@santacruzvalleychurch.org

The church, at the northwestern corner of La Villita and Sahuarita Road, has moved all services to a digital format. 

Jamie Verwys | 520-547-9732 


Reporter Jamie Verwys grew up in Sahuarita and graduated from the high school in 2006. She lives in Tucson and graduated from the University of Arizona with a bachelor’s degree in journalism in 2018.