In answer to the serious problems Chatham faced with the coming of the Coronavirus pandemic in March, The Friends of the Library of the Chathams launched its “1,000 Masks Challenge,” an idea proposed by Library Director Karen Brodsky, which entailed building kits to make the masks, each kit containing a mask design and instruction, fabric, spools of thread and elastic.

Each kit contained enough for 24 masks, which were then put into special reusable “Library of the Chathams” tote bags provided by ECLC Pride. Members of the Friends, including Maureen Kelly, Susan Tackaberry, Debbie Fabian, library employees Nellie Brogan, Sandra Echeverri and Cathy Prince, Chatham resident Marla Osinski and Alexandra and Fernando Falcone of Colony Cleaners cut the lengths of fabric needed.

Sue Hoag, president of the Friends, sent a notice out that volunteers were needed to help sew the masks. 115 people stepped forward and the “1,000 Masks Challenge” was launched. When the kits were finished more Friends, including Phyllis and Kent Stevens and Betsy Maltby, delivered them to the volunteer mask makers. Cynthia Merwin and Sue Hoag picked up the finished kits and took them to the Chatham Emergency Squad for distribution.

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The number of kits made by Chatham Borough and Township people who volunteered for this worthwhile program was overwhelming. For example, Jun Quon (CB) made 500 kits, Peggy Melvin (CT) made 500, Elizabeth Stewart made 226, Alexander Falcone made 208, Marla Osinski (CB) did 170, Maria Brunetta (CT) made 146, Sandra Highway (CT) did 144, Nancy Foxon (CT) made 144, Linda Harter (CT) made 120 and Virginie Aris (CT) made 120. Jun and Peggy made some kits in children’s sizes at 40 a kit.

Some of the people who volunteered came back for their fourth and fifth kits, each kit making 24 masks. The actual number of masks made between
March 29 and now, Aug. 7, has come to 5,900. When the masks were completed they were given to the Chatham Emergency Squad to distribute to nurses at
Morristown and Overlook Hospitals, the Chatham Borough Police Department, Chatham Borough Department of Public Works, Chatham Borough Municipal Offices, Chatham Twp. Department of Public Works, Chatham Twp. Municipal Offices, Chatham Twp. Fire Department, Green Village Fire Department, Bloomfield Department of Health (serving Chatham Township), Westfield Department of Health (serving Chatham Borough), the Garden Terrace Nursing Home, Chatham Hills Sub-Acute Care, Sunrise of Madison Senior Living Center, Sunrise of Florham Park Senior Living Center, Overlook Hospital, Morristown Hospital and the School District of the Chathams (maintenance staff). The Friends of the Library of the Chathams extend warm and heartfelt thanks to all the wonderfully supportive people who volunteered and helped with this important program.

The “1,000 Masks Challenge” has been a complete success and we thank you all.