Making a Multitude of Masks

Judie Mayer sews nearly 1,000 masks for students to use when in-person classes resume

October 6, 2020 -- Ask Judie Mayer if she’s a seamstress, and she’ll modestly demur before being reminded by her daughter that she actually made her own wedding dress.

“Oh, that,” she said, laughing.  “Well, that was a long time ago.”

picture of Judie Mayer donating a box of masks to JCPS
These days her skills are just as keen.  For the past two months she’s been making face masks for JCPS students to use when they eventually return to in-person classes. Last week she donated the yield of all that work:  nearly 1,000 brightly colored face coverings in sizes ranging from pre-K to adult.

Mayer decided to help out when Kentucky First Lady Britainy Beshear launched the Coverings for Kids program, encouraging Kentuckians to donate facial coverings directly to local school districts.  Mayer, who has a deep connection to the district – her daughter, Stephanie Grant, teaches at Roosevelt-Perry Elementary School, and she has five grandsons who attend JCPS schools – said she thought, ‘I’ve got some material, I can do that.’”

She hasn’t kept track of exactly how much time she’s devoted to the project over the last two months, although she knows she logged 20 hours to make just 84 masks.

“I keep Amazon busy buying all this elastic,” she said, adding she’s used nearly 800 yards of the stretchy string.  “And I couldn’t tell you how much fabric I’ve used.”

Community involvement in projects like Coverings for Kids will play an important part of getting back to school, said Eva Stone, the district’s health manager.

“This is an amazing example of something that the community can do to help get kids ready to go back to school,” she said.  “And if people wear their masks and follow the guidelines to help decrease the spread in the community, that’s what it’s going to take to help us get kids back to school.”

Mayer has also made masks for residents of nursing homes, but never thought she’d end up making nearly a thousand of the coverings for students.  “I just work at it if I’m not reading,” she said.  “I’m retired, and I love to do it.”

To donate masks for JCPS students, contact Eva Stone at