Pine Belt community unites to create masks


The fight against COVID-19 is far from over, as the current number of confirmed cases in Mississippi increases every day. However, these tough times have also motivated the Pine Belt community to come together and support one another.

One of the ways people are rallying behind one another is through the creation of face masks, as the Mississippi State Department of Health and the CDC now recommend that people wear face coverings when in public settings. 

For example, JMH Graphics of Oak Grove is allowing local businesses and everyday folk alike to make use of their leftover materials to make masks.

“We have a lot of backstock stored away in the back of the building, and at a certain point we realized we could take this old material and let people use it to create facemasks,” store employee Jason Spiers said.

Local hair stylist Amanda Patrick said she heard from her sister about how nurses on her staff were running low on masks, so she decided to step up and help those in need.

“Many of my clients are nurses, and hearing stories of how they were getting low on masks or only being given one disposable mask to use over and over broke my heart. I knew if I couldn’t do anything else, then I could at least sew masks to help fill a need,” Patrick said.

Patrick said that all of the masks she sews are donated to medical staff, fire departments and emergency personnel.  

She is not the only one making masks, though. Soso resident Lauralee Wright Watts said via email the need for masks has made her put her sewing skills to good use. All masks she creates are donated to healthcare workers and people who reach out to her without face masks of their own.

Face masks are in high demand for both medical workers and everyday citizens alike, but Spiers said the efforts made by local businesses and regular folk to make masks are part of a larger community of helpers as a whole. 

“Without contributing efforts to stop the spread, the economy will remain shut down, and our current business model does not allow us to do what we normally do, so instead our employees are helping out the community,” Spiers said.

Patrick said helping out medical workers also helps the community, and even the smallest charitable effort goes a long way to help everyone.

“These people are risking their lives for their community, so we deserve to give back to them.  Throughout the years, my customers and community have supported me in my businesses and it’s an honor for me to be able to do this one simple act for them, and if it helps save even one person from catching the virus, then the many hours of sewing late at night is all worth it,” Patrick said.
People can contact JMH Graphics to request clothing material supplies for face masks by emailing [email protected] or calling the office at 601-261-2500.