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Sewing supplies, including a pin cushion, scissors, measuring tape, thread, pattern, fabric, and coffee filter, are spread out on a green gridded cutting mat.
Supplies used to craft homemade protective face coverings for essential workers.
Volunteering & Giving
April 24, 2020

Supporting essential workers with needle and thread

Some Wells Fargo employees are putting in long hours away from work making protective face coverings to support health care workers and others in their local communities.

The only time Alicia Estes ever used her sewing skills was to make Halloween costumes. But when the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended that all Americans wear face coverings in public to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, she, like many other Wells Fargo employees, broke out her sewing machine, fabric, and thread to help.

“It’s great to feel like I can contribute in some way to those around me who need an extra hand.” — Alicia Estes, part of Wells Fargo’s Marketing team

“My mom taught me the basics growing up,” said Estes, who is part of Wells Fargo’s Marketing team in the Bay Area. “It’s great to feel like I can contribute in some way to those around me who need an extra hand.” Many of Estes’ face coverings went to nurses to use during their off-hours so they can prioritize their medical-grade masks for shifts caring for patients.

She’s also donating the face coverings to workers in local grocery stores and other essential businesses. For Estes, the effort is as much personal therapy as it is personal contribution. “It’s been very difficult to be across the country from my family during this time,” she said. “Making these face coverings provides me with something productive to channel my energy toward.”

For single mom Darshana Goradia, a systems analyst with Wells Fargo Technology, life during a pandemic comes with the additional title of teacher. But even with shepherding her 10-year-old daughter, Ria, through virtual school and supporting Wells Fargo’s COVID-19 response, she is putting in time every day sewing face coverings.

“I can see them from my window and their eyes speak everything. If God has given me the ability to help, I want to do so to the best of my ability and capacity.” — Darshana Goradia, a systems analyst with Wells Fargo Technology

“I have never thought of me being capable of doing so many things at the same time,” Goradia said. “Where there is a will, there is a way.” Goradia was inspired to help after talking with her cousin, a local emergency room physician’s assistant. “She said she was using the same face cover for three or four days because they didn’t have any.”

So far, Goradia has made more than 650 face coverings for health care workers, organizations, and senior care facilities in her Chandler, Arizona, community. She leaves the masks on a sanitized table on her front porch for organizations to pick up. “I can see them from my window and their eyes speak everything,” she said. She has also provided masks for health care workers in Mexico who reached out to her for help. “If God has given me the ability to help, I want to do so to the best of my ability and capacity.”

Pulling double duty with work and home schooling is also part of the new normal for Deana Robinson, a senior fiduciary administrator for Wells Fargo’s Wealth and Investment Management team. A long-time community volunteer who has instilled the same sense of service in her daughter, Robinson didn’t hesitate to get involved.

“Filling time in the evenings doing something good was an obvious thing for us to do. It’s a wonderful feeling in all the sadness to see everyone making the best out of a very challenging and exhausting situation.” — Deana Robinson, a senior fiduciary administrator for Wells Fargo’s Wealth and Investment Management team

She’s also looking at the situation as an opportunity to pass along a sentimental family tradition.

“My mom was a seamstress,” said Robinson. “I have enjoyed being able to share with Tori something that was passed down from my mom that she loved to do and was very good at.”

Together, Robinson and her 12-year-old daughter Tori have made face coverings for a local dental practice, other health care workers, and senior service facilities in their Winston-Salem, North Carolina, community.

“Filling time in the evenings doing something good was an obvious thing for us to do,” Robinson said. “It’s a wonderful feeling in all the sadness to see everyone making the best out of a very challenging and exhausting situation.”

If you are also interested in making face coverings, the CDC website offers several examples of how to make homemade face coverings, along with tips on how to wear them and keep them clean.


Read other featured stories in our special section,“Wells Fargo responds to COVID-19.”

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