Members of the community reach out to their neighbors and friends

Jess+Buck+started+sewing+masks+by+request+of+her+neighbors+that+are+healthcare+workers.+They+are+very+thankful+that+she+has+made+them+feel+safer+at+work.

Photo submitted by Jess Buck

Jess Buck started sewing masks by request of her neighbors that are healthcare workers. They are very thankful that she has made them feel safer at work.

Elaina Mankowski, Layout Editor

COVID-19 has left everyone feeling lonely and distanced from those we care about. Many are feeling helpless because they cannot do much to help everyone when they are not working on the front lines. In Bayport, many community members have begun to reach out to help their neighborhoods and communities in the recent weeks.

“I was inspired to reach out in my community after I had heard from several nurses that they were being limited on their typical access to face masks, yet the need was greater than it is during average times,” Jess Buck said. 

Buck is one of the people who decided to do something and make a difference. Her neighbor works as a nurse and had told her about the shortage of medical supplies such as masks for the medical workers. Many other neighbors and local healthcare workers started asking her if she would sew some masks for them.

Buck felt that not as many people know how to sew in 2020 as they once did. She felt called to say yes because she knew her neighbors would benefit from her skill.

Although people feel good about reaching out, it does come with a somber feeling during this pandemic. It is a good deed, but it is a simple necessity people need right now can be draining.

“At first, it felt very good – like I could tell myself I was doing a great and needed thing. As time has gone on, and people keep asking – I find that I do feel good, but also very drained by it,” Buck said. “I guess that’s to say that I do want to help, but it’s just not a fun thing to help with.”

I was inspired to reach out in my community after I had heard from several nurses that they were being limited on their typical access to face masks, yet the need was greater than it is during average times”

— Jess Buck

Buck is not the only one to do this for her community. Sixth grader Natalie Jansen has also started doing this. She loves to sew so she decided to use this passion for good. She has made masks to send to Lakeview Hospital as well as to others in need.

So far she’s made more than 100 masks. They went to Lakeview Hospital, an inpatient mental health facility for teenage boys and to family and friends and people she knows in the healthcare and emergency medical field.

Jess Buck’s husband Matt Buck, does not make masks, but has noticed other changes in the community such as gatherings and amounts of people.

He has noticed “little traffic on HWY 95” as well as “a lot more high school age kids,” “people walking the town” and people doing “outside projects.”

To help his neighbors, Matt has reached out to run errands for his “at risk” neighbors and offered to help them with anything they need.

“My neighbor Dave is older and in the high risk group so I have run errands for him such as getting groceries or picking up odds and ends. I have provided dinner for an elderly person, done grocery runs and post office drop offs,” Matt said. 

Although COVID-19 and social distancing has made people feel isolated and helpless, there are still things they can do to help. Staying home as much as possible is a start. If they are able to make masks and support businesses that are above and beyond.

“Like Mr. Rogers said, in bad times, there are always helpers,” Jess said. “I guess it’s just a benefit to be a helper – as small as the task may be.”