Former BBCC employee steps up to make masks for childcare providers

Terry Kinzel mask donation

MOSES LAKE — More handmade fabric face masks have made their way to local childcare providers, this time thanks to the generosity of a former Big Bend Community College employee.

BBCC Early Childhood Education program coordinator Jenny Nighswonger and family friend Sheila Poe Thompson began making and delivering masks to daycares and learning centers in the area earlier this month.

They organized the project after hearing about a shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) for workers on the front lines of the COVID-19 outbreak. Many community members have stepped up to sew facemasks for local clinics and hospitals, so the pair focused on providing masks for local childcare providers, many of whom are current or former ECE students.

Nighswonger said she was having a conversation about their efforts with former BBCC Director of Title V Grants Terry Kinzel, when Terry surprised her by immediately offering to pitch in.

“I told Terry that my mom’s friend was making masks for my students, many of whom were childcare providers, serving on the front lines. Once I told her about the tremendous need in our service district, she replied, ‘I want to help too!’,” said Nighswonger. “Between the two of us, we rounded up enough fabric, elastic, and Pellon from family and friends to get her started on her mask-making mission.”

Thanks to the extra set of hands, Nighswonger said she was able to take an additional 75 masks of varying sizes, shapes and fabric to providers in need.

“Terry has always had a passion for helping others,” said Nighswonger. “She has a huge heart for giving and serving children and families in our communities.”

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