The Grackle

Observations, Reflections and Miscellany from the Wacoan

The New Normal: Waco and COVID-19

Wacoans Step Up in a Mask Shortage

4 years ago

By Claire Van Zee

As masks everywhere have flown off the shelves in recent weeks, you’ve probably noticed that the original mask manufacturing companies have struggled to restock them. This has not only found the average person in an awkward position as the CDC has recommended that everyone now wear a mask while out in public, but has also been especially difficult for those who are essential as they risk their lives daily.

However, good citizens all over the country have taken the matter into their own hands by finding ways to make the masks themselves. Perhaps you’ve seen this across social media as companies such as New Balance have altered their production from shoes to masks for medical professionals, and even fashion influencers have found ways to turn the average handkerchief into a mask.

Wacoans are no exception, as businesses big and small have begun to make masks out of whatever materials they can find and citizens have banded together to produce as many as possible for those in need. From using old Crown Royal bags to designing N95 style masks, our locals have truly stepped up to provide for one another during this difficult time. Below are a few of their stories.

One of the first concerted community efforts was organized by a Facebook Group called Waco Masks Seamstress for COVID. They are an official member of the Community Partners Coalition and of the Waco-McLennan County Emergency Operations Center. Find the group to donate, volunteer or request masks for yourself or your organization.

Crystal Peach, the owner of Etsy shop Just Peachy Waco, decided to turn her business of homemade women’s, children and dog accessories into a homemade mask shop for the time being. Etsy has actually reached out to shop owners asking those who are able to sew, to begin making masks. When Peach realized masks could be required in order to go out in public, she stepped in and put her sewing skills towards the cause. “I decided that I really needed to be helping people as much as I could,” Peach said.

You can purchase a mask from her shop here. She sells both adult and kids (ages 3-8) sizes.

Lauren Robb, owner of the headband business Simple Beauty, has started to create headbands for medical professionals with buttons on the side to hold up the mask so it doesn’t hurt the ears. “We had a large number of requests for this because nurses were complaining of sore ears from wearing a mask for 12 hours straight. So they use the buttons to attach the elastic from their mask to their headband instead of their ears,” Lauren said.

You can purchase a buttoned headband at

According to Instagram, Heritage Restorations, a barn restoration company, has actually developed a quality N95 style mask design. After spending weeks fit testing the masks with a local hospital, they are finally ready to be shared with the public. They’ve already donated them to local hospitals and are hoping to produce them for others at scale. Find information on their Instagram at @heritagerestorations.