In our city of brotherly and sisterly love, it’s difficult to keep track of all the neighbors who are reaching out to help others – especially during our Covid-19 crisis. But we were attracted to one such caring person that seems typical of all our community-minded citizens – Gabrielle Moshier, who teaches at Esperanza Academy Charter School.
“While I didn’t particularly like sewing as a hobby, it turns out learning how to sew in high school home economics class is now beneficial,” Moshier related in an email to the Globe Times.
“Who would have thought it? But, at a time like this, I believe those that can do, should do. So, I’ve shaken off the rust and brushed up on my needle threading skills to make face masks.”
Mosier was alerted to a specific, urgent face mask need by her mentoring partner at the Philadelphia Chess Society, Jason Bui. Bui teaches chess at Mitchell Elementary School where a vital weekly food distribution program run by the Delaware Valley Fairness Project (DVFP) is based. While she and Bui immediately started contributing food, they also learned through the DVFP director Ed Riehl that his team desperately needed face masks to keep people safe while passing out the food.
“When the food program was launched last month, Riehl said they only had four masks for eight volunteers,” she recalled. Fortunately, she had already unearthed her old sewing kit to stitch masks for frontline health workers through JoAnn’s Fabric and the Sew Face Masks Philadelphia.
Adding more masks for the DVFP team at Mitchell was no problem, except that she rapidly ran out of material and thread. “Nothing was available in local stores or online,” Mosier discovered. Fortunately, her grandmothers and some neighbor had supplies and cutting up some clean cotton sheets, she was quickly in business.
“I’ve been able to provide 20 masks a week for Mr. Ed’s staff,” she noted. “I wish I could produce more; the need is certainly there.” However, she was also committed to about 20 masks a week for the staff of the Kencrest Learning Services over on Elmwood who are delivering food.
Reaching out to family, friends, and neighbors to pitch in too, she reflects, “What I’m doing is nothing like what people on the front lines are doing during this crisis!” And, she thinks of the inequity of mandating wearing a mask to walk into a store, just to be in public and be safe, and not providing more masks to health providers who depend on them!
“I also know I am not the only one who is assisting in this equity effort,” Mosier concluded. “There are so many good people working out there., and so many more in need.” Teachers thrive on helping others and doing things, she observes. “To sit home every day, even providing online instruction, I feel disconnected from my students… it injures a little piece of who I am every day.”
Sewing masks then, she claims, is as beneficial to her as it is to those on the receiving end. And, doing so makes her feel like she’s a small part of the massive effort to heal, feed, and house her needy neighbors.
“I’m so glad to know and work with people in the great Philly network of helping others.”
Photo courtesy of Melanie Brennan. For an ABC News Video clip of the Ed Riehl and the DVFP food delivery operation, visit: