“We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop”.
The Covid_19 crisis has turned our worlds upside down, and daily we witness stories of compassion and generosity that help us to feel hope and beauty despite the seriousness of our current situation. One of those stories of compassion and benevolence is found right here in Houston.
I want to introduce you to a very special woman in our community who is following her passion and helping so many people, not only locally but globally as well.
Aurora Brunel is an old friend who started making masks to distribute to first responders and others in need.
Before taking on this labor of love, Aurora had taken only two quilting classes and was not a “sewer.” She was moved to help others because her son who is a seminarian was living in Rome experienced first hand the devastation of Covid_19. Her son eventually was able to return to Houston and successfully quarantine, but Aurora heard a strong calling she could not ignore.
Initially, Aurora sewed a few masks and brought them to a fire station, but she and her masks were turned away. Aurora laughs and says, “They were ugly.” Not to be deterred, she created a Facebook page and recruited volunteers from her friend circles and parents at Strake Jesuit where her sons attended high school. The word spread and at this point, there are over 668 members of the Facebook group, many of them active volunteers who are sewing, cutting, delivering, and donating much needed funds and skills.
One of the early donations was an industrial fabric cutter, which proved to be a welcome time saver. Most recently, a local tailor contacted Aurora who offered to volunteer his time and expertise to assist with this meaningful project.
As her mission continued and gained stream, a radio station in Cancun contacted Aurora for an interview. This helped to advertise the cause and spread the word to other locales. Currently, there are associated Masks of Hope groups in Mexico and Canada.
Aurora’s home is now a control and communication command center for volunteers and those requesting masks and caps. Of course, safety measures are strictly followed, and materials and products are left on her porch for pick up and exchanges.
For distribution, priority goes to first responders, pediatric clinics, hospitals, and vulnerable populations. No one is turned away. Masks are specially made for first responders with a slit for a filter to be inserted.
Aurora and her volunteers have created over 4000 masks; all lovingly made and donated both locally and abroad as well as places within the USA.
Masks of Hope volunteers are a beautiful example of finding an opportunity within this crisis to spread love and hope. Their eagerness to help and provide comfort is motivated by a deeper cause which embodies each of the workers. Every Facebook post request posted by Aurora or a member is answered quickly and with compassion.
Aurora and her team welcome anyone who wishes to participate. There are many opportunities and ways to get involved. Donations are accepted via PayPay if you are unable to physically lend a hand.
If you would like to donate or help with this project, please contact me, or find Masks of Hope on Facebook, link here: