Local Seniors Combat the Mental and Emotional Effects of Social Distancing by Making Masks

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, many are experiencing feelings of isolation and grief, but according to local nonprofit, Education Based Housing, they are seeing an alarming spike in depression and self-harm in elderly communities around the Greater Houston area. Moral in these communities tends to thrive best on human contact and frequent social activities, but extra precautions have limited these communities to minimal physical contact and Zoom interactions.

Education Based Housing is a non-profit providing education and services to some of the most vulnerable populations in the Greater Houston area. Currently, they serve 15 properties that consist of multifamily or senior housing. They provide non-clinical and social services for low to moderate incoming communities, including education, health and nutrition, social events, providing transportation to grocery stores, and more. Each property is unique, and possesses diversity in culture, ethnicity, and services that work best for them.

Bri Sandifer, Program Manager of Education Based Housing, and Program Assistant, Kourtnei Gartman, contacted Houston Responds in search of face masks, since a portion of the communities they serve include high-risk seniors. Houston Responds was able to provide 200 face masks made by volunteers as part of the Masks For All project. To continue providing them with masks while engaging them with the Masks For All project, together we came up with a creative solution that would not only supply masks for the seniors, but also help provide them with a sense of purpose during these difficult times.

Volunteers participating in the Masks For All project have been assembling mask kits containing pre-cut fabric and elastic to be provided to sewists for completion to ensure a smooth production process. Houston Responds has provided Education Based Housing with 150 pre-assembled mask kits to dispense to their senior citizens to be sewn. The seniors can now create these masks together via Zoom while also creating a better social and mental environment during these times of isolation. Once the face masks are sewn, they will be passed out to neighbors, grandchildren, and others within their communities.

“Being able to provide masks for seniors, empowering them to make masks for themselves and others, and helping contribute to their positive mental health is really accomplishing a lot through this exciting partnership.”, said Jennifer Casey from Houston Responds.

As of today, they have completed the initial 150 mask kits and are asking for more to continue their participation in the Masks For All project. The senior living communities have already seen a positive outcome with the mental health of their residents. Houston Responds owes a huge ‘thank you’ to Bri, Kourtnei, and everyone at Education Based Housing for making a difference in Greater Houston and helping ensure there are “Masks For All”.

If you want to learn more about our Masks For All project or want to get involved, visit www.houstonresponds.org/masksforall.