Countdown to next week’s Global Day of Giving and Unity

GivingTuesday, the groundbreaking global generosity movement, recently announced #GivingTuesdayNow, a global day of giving and unity, set to take place on May 5, 2020 as an emergency response to the unprecedented need caused by COVID-19.

In the days leading up to #GivingTuesdayNow, Latham Centers will be sharing a series of blog posts featuring the gifts of generosity and kindness bestowed upon us by our community of friends, family members, and our Cape Cod community. We will also highlight the many ways our remarkable and dedicated staff has responded to this crisis with creativity, compassion, and humor.

Generosity & Kindness Part 1: Home Sewers from Cape Cod and Beyond Make Masks for Latham Centers

In the early days of the quarantine, a simple pattern for a CDC-approved homemade mask was shared with our staff by Dr. Christine Thomas, Vice-chair of Latham’s Board of Directors and Vice-chair of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at Lahey Hospital and Medical Center in Peabody, Mass. The entire country was experiencing shortages of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE), and home sewers across the United States responded by dragging their sewing machines out of attics and garages to sew masks for essential workers.

Heather Kelsey, Director of Development, shared a post on her personal Facebook page asking local home sewers to help make masks for Latham staff, students, and adult residents. She also reached out to local civic groups, churches, and synagogues.

Heather shared, “The response was incredible! So many people were looking for a way to be helpful. Even non-sewers asked to participate. The Rotary Club of Harwich and Dennis donated $500 to help cover the cost of fabric and elastic. Word spread among our staff and our families and soon we had masks arriving from New York State and Connecticut, as well as donated handmade masks from across Cape Cod.”

Toni Philbrick, a Brewster resident and owner of Traveling Stitches Custom Figure Skating Apparel, temporarily put away the lycra, sequins, and netting used for figure skating competition dresses and spent hours cutting fabric and elastic for over 600 masks. The materials were bundled in packages, each with enough to make 50 masks, and delivered to volunteers across the Cape. Our talented and generous volunteers came to us from the Sisterhood of Cape Cod Synagogue, Rotary, local bridge, golf, and tennis groups, a teacher and cheerleading coach, Latham staffers, the Bayberry Quilters’ group, a computer coder, a financial planner, retired grandparents, and high school students.

All of us at Latham are so deeply moved by the generosity of our community. Thank you to everyone who offered to sew masks, and to so many who continue to sew masks for Latham and the other vulnerable members of our community.


Top Collage:  Trish Graham (left) of Rotary of Harwich and Dennis (who organized a team of volunteers to sew for Latham and area nursing homes) at home sewing; Tara Cummins (right) sewing masks for Latham at her home in Connecticut; Latham’s Maintenance Team members (below) wearing donated masks; and two images of Director of Children’s Services Gerry Pouliot wearing a donated mask (because we can all use a little humor along with our gratitude!)   

Bottom Collage: Toni Philbrick converted her Traveling Stitches Custom Skating Wear Workroom to cut and sew masks for Latham.

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