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Lynchburg couple makes masks, gives more than $5000 in donations to local nonprofit

Lynchburg couple makes masks, gives more than $5000 in donations to local nonprofit (WSET).
Lynchburg couple makes masks, gives more than $5000 in donations to local nonprofit (WSET).
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LYNCHBURG, Va. (WSET) -- A love of sewing, creating, and helping others connects Bette and Bob Bibee.

For Bette, sewing is a lifelong passion.

“I learned how to sew when I was in the fifth grade from my godmother and I’ve been sewing ever since," she said.

Bob, who is a mechanical engineer by trade, also has a knack for it.

“Actually I've been sewing about forty-some years now too," he said, "I started in high school or college."

Together, they decided to use their talents to help solve a problem during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Our son-in-law is an ICU physician at Hopkins," Bette said, "He indicated early-on there was a problem with masks.”

Bette and Bob started making masks for family members and friends in their basement. Soon, it caught on and they had to ramp up production.

“We've probably made about 1,000 masks," Bette said, "People got word thinking they might need masks so they contacted us about making some for them and how they could pay us."

When the Bette and Bob are done making masks, they put them in individual brown paper bags so neighbors and community members can come pick them up. Then, they put the bags in a basket on their front porch with a small donation box next to it. People simply take the masks they need and leave a donation. Bette asks for a five dollar donation per mask, but said people usually leave more. The Bibee's donate all of those donations to Park View Community Mission in Lynchburg.

“I thought 'Well, maybe we could make $500, that would be really nice,'" Bette said.

Her $500 goal quickly turned to more than $5000 in donations.

“It’s done our hearts a world of good too," Bob said, "To have a double whammy of good that we are doing something to help somebody."

Over at Park View Community Mission, spokesperson Earl Larkins said a donation that size goes a long way in helping feed the community.

“With donations we’ve been getting we’ll be able to provide 1,000 food bags," Larkins said, "This is just an example of how people use their talents to do good things for other people."

Bette and Bob said they have no plans to slow down their mask-making operation. They’ll continue cut fabric, sew it, package it up and give back as long as they can.

“We are two ordinary people, anyone could do this," Bob said, "We’ve just hit a sweet spot with this community."

The Bibee's said they couldn't do this project alone; their friends and family donated supplies like elastic and fabric to their cause.

If someone would like a homemade mask, the Bibee's encourage people to contact Park View Community Mission to arrange a time to pick one up.

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Bette and Bob plan to send masks to Park View for people to get if they need one, they just ask you make a donation to Park View while you're there or donate online.

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