Brockville mask maker donates more than $5,000 to local food bank

Donna Taylor of Brockville makes face masks in her sewing room. (Nate Vandermeer/CTV News Ottawa)

For Donna Taylor, her love of sewing started early. She even remembers the first outfit she completed when she was nine.

"I made my mom a lime green pant suit," said Taylor in her home sewing room.

"Bless her heart, she wore it forever."

Her love of the craft over the years grew into her business, as she bought the local Singer Store in Brockville and changed the name to Taylor Sewing Centre.

She retired and sold the business in 2017, but continued to sew at home.

"I sew everyday. It just keeps me calm," Taylor said.

When the COVID-19 pandemic began in the spring, her daughter Dana suggested she should start making masks for people in the area.

She thought about it but didn’t jump on the advice. However, her daughter was persistent.

"I just let it sit and then she said again, 'mom make masks!' and I did. I started early June, I think," Taylor said.

Word spread on Facebook and through word of mouth, and some businesses asked Taylor to supply masks for them to sell.

"Pharmasave asked if I could do some for them so they could sell them for donations and also the Village Store in Athens had taken on me doing some for them," Taylor said.

"They paid me and I gave the money to the food bank."

She kept doing that, making approximately 3,000 masks with more than $5,000 in donations going to the Brockville and Area Food Bank.

"The food bank, you know, just because it’s needed. When we were kids, it helped us at Christmas. It’s a good cause," said Taylor.

Taylor has set no price point for a mask, leaving it up to what a person can afford.

"We had some that gave me 50-cents and we’ve had some that have given me $100 for seven, so it just depends on the person and what they have," Taylor said.

When asked if she set a goal for donations, she said $5,000 crossed her mind.

"Anything more is a bonus. It would be nice to get six or seven or eight...." Taylor said with a laugh.

Masks have been shipped throughout Canada, to the United States and even crossed the pond to England.

And she’s only had one negative comment from all of the masks she has designed.

"The elastic was too short," Taylor said. "That’s because the gentleman had a fairly big neck and a beard, so I designed one for him and he’s pretty happy now.”

Taylor also said none of this would have been possible without the great response from the Brockville and area community.

"I just want to thank everybody. I’m not the only one out there making masks so I’d like to thank them for all their hard work. I know they’re doing their own thing and selling them to put food on their table or donating it out. I just want to say thanks for all people who support me."

If you would like purchase a mask, you can email Donna Taylor here: taylordonna1959@gmail.com