CAMBRIDGE, Ill. — They're everywhere now: masks. You need them wherever you go, including school.
For the principal at Cambridge Elementary School, a dedicated seamstress has made it easier to get through the coronavirus pandemic.
Shelly Capps says Tammy Joyce has helped sew more than 5,000 masks for the elementary school kids, the high school, church and the community.
"That has been such a saving grace here for us because otherwise, we wouldn't have been able to be in school," Capps says.
Capps says Joyce reached out to her back in March, saying they ended to start wearing masks. That's when Joyce volunteered to start sewing them.
"She just keeps going and going and going," Capps says. "She's the energizer bunny when it comes to sewing and helping people be safe."
Capps says Joyce even made special masks for each class, plus personalized ones for teachers and staff.
All that hard work is why Capps says she nominated Joyce for the Pay It Forward Award, sponsored by Ascentra Credit Union.
A quick drive from the school, and Capps and some students were ready to surprise Joyce and say thank you, handing her the $300 award.
"Ascentra gave me $300 to give you to do with and do whatever you'd like with, and I have a funny feeling where that's going to go," Capps said.
"I'm going to buy more fabric!" Joyce said.
She says when she heard about the coronavirus, she wanted to make sure everyone in her community stayed safe. So she turned on her sewing machine.
"My goal originally was to make 100 masks, for the neighborhood, friends, family, school, church. And it just kept growing," she says.
Joyce said she got a lot of help, too. People donated fabric and elastic and even helped her sew. She's even mailed masks to people across the country.
The money from Ascentra will go to good use, too.
"To keep making masks, as long as they're needed," Joyce says.
If you would like to help Joyce with her mission, you can message Village Light Church's Facebook page.
And if you know someone you'd like to nominate for Pay It Forward, click here.