"Seamstresses Are Essential!"

Lately, due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, we have been hearing a lot in the media about "essential services." Most of the time, it is in reference to medical and health care workers; police, firefighters, and other emergency services; teachers; custodial and sanitation workers; grocery, public transit employees; packing, shipping and delivery services; and farm workers and farming operations. But essential services also include those who work in carryout food preparations, hardware stores, gas stations, laundry services, and banking. All of these brave and selfless individuals should be commended for being out on the front lines fighting this pandemic!

However, the list of essential workers doesn't seem quite complete. As of April 4, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), has issued a bulletin recommending that "everyone should wear a cloth face covering when out in public places to protect others in case they are unknowingly infected with the virus." When we heard about this, we immediately thought of a skilled seamstress in our extended family (our son-in-law's mother, Linda) and contacted her with our need for masks. She readily indicated, "I'm on it!" We found out later that she had already been sewing together masks for family and friends at no charge and had only stopped her work whenever she needed to restock supplies of cloth and elastic bands.
Compliments of our dear friend, Linda!

The dictionary definition of "essential" is that which is "absolutely necessary and extremely important." Our need and our family's need fit that description. Yet, we had family in St. Louis that was unable to procure such protective equipment. I made a call to an alteration business in the Sunset Hills area and found a seamstress that was already "cranking out" masks. I put in an order. 

It was Wednesday afternoon and I was told that it would be Friday before they would be available due to a need for elastic bands. I had heard that before! The good news came on Thursday though, that the masks were ready early and could be picked up immediately. Our son was delighted to get a half dozen for himself and our precious granddaughter to use. Thank you to the seamstresses who have come to the rescue!

Sewing may be a fading, if not lost, art form. My grandmother who has long since passed was a seamstress. My mother kept her sewing machine in active service in her bedroom until she passed in 2018. Not everyone though can sew a mask even with online tutorials. We have another family member, her initials are Monique! 😀, who was a straight-A student, but barely passed a high school home economics' class assignment in sewing when her "house coat" fell apart during the time of grading! And yes, I know that I'm going to pay dearly for passing this story along! 

My point it is that during distressing times like these days when we are dealing with this deadly virus, we need skilled craftswomen and men who are able to "ply their trade!" I have read about how many seamstresses have organized nationwide using social media to supply the need for non-surgical grade masks. These are to be used by the everyday public for those limited times when a person needs to be out to obtain priority items like groceries, medicines and the like.

One of my favorite Bible stories is about a skilled seamstress and Christ-follower named Tabitha or Dorcas. She is characterized as someone who "was always doing good and helping the poor." The part of the story I find especially heartwarming is that after she had passed and just before the Apostle Peter would miraculously resuscitate her, grieving "widows stood around him, crying and showing him the robes and other clothing that Dorcas had made while she was still with them" (Acts 9:32-43, NIV). These women were wearing and sharing their testimonies of Dorcas' good work!

I imagine that today, in a similar way, that there are many individuals sharing with others pictures of their new masks and telling friends about the special seamstresses who have made these coverings for them! What a blessing! What a tribute to the self-giving individuals who have become "essential workers" to us in these times! Let your seamstress friends know how much you appreciate them!

Mike Keppler, retired pastor,
active churchman and
doting grandparent.
Contact: drmjkeppler@gmail.com


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