Father Tom Purdy learned something from an ongoing mission, and he passed the information on to Mavis Jaudon, principal of Burroughs-Molette Elementary School.
“I discovered that 3,000 of these weigh 75 pounds,’’ Purdy said as he delivered 1,400 masks to Jaudon the day before school opened for classes.
Christ Church Frederica, where the Rev. Purdy is rector, is giving cloth face masks to Glynn County students and school staff that they should want to wear. The donations have become more critical this week after the school board made them mandatory for everyone in the schools.
Christ Church has nearly 11,000 masks in hand and delivered the first 2,400 Wednesday to Burroughs-Molette Elementary School and Brunswick High. They planned to deliver 4,200 more Friday to Goodyear, St. Simons, and Oglethorpe Point elementary schools and Glynn Academy. No school will get less than 1,000, he said.
The goal is masks for everyone in all schools, and Christ Church hopes to get 10,000 more, Purdy said.
“It’s a tangible way to meet a need to help protect our children, schools and community,’’ he said. “Jesus calls us to care for those who need our help, and we’re all in this pandemic together.”
Jaudon said word of the donation stopped some faculty hand-wringing.
“The staff was worried. I told them not to worry, Mr. Purdy is coming,’’ she said.
Jaudon said she will hand out a few extra masks to each teacher in case a child doesn’t have one in class, and the rest will go in the school vault for safe-keeping.
“One of our concerns was children not coming to school with masks,’’ because they simply didn’t have them or their families couldn’t afford them, Purdy said.
The school board will provide masks for those who don’t have them, but Purdy said some children may need several masks to get through a week or perhaps a day.
The masks are two ply, as recommended by most medical experts, and come from a vendor that specialized in manufacturing socks, at least before the pandemic, Purdy said.
After finding the vendor on Etsy, Christ Church began ordering the masks but they wanted to make them attractive to the students. They decided to tap into school spirit by adding iron-on appliques of school mascots, names and mottos.
The Burroughs-Molette masks, for example have the school name, a Tiger paw and this year’s motto, “Rise up to greatness,’’ he said.
Goodyear Elementary will have its Marlin and St. Simons its Dolphin along with their school names. After consulting with the schools, Purdy learned some didn’t want the full name. Glynn Academy opted for a GA and Glynn Middle for GM. With those iron-on transfers, each masks costs less than $2.
“We knew there would be a need. We found an affordable way’’ to meet it, Purdy said.
Thus far, Christ Church has spent $20,000 for masks mostly from its pandemic and mission funds, a $5,000 donation from St. Simons Presbyterian and another from Glynn Episcopal Ministries. Volunteers from Christ Church and St. Simons Presbyterian are ironing on the transfers.
“For us, this is pure outreach to the community,’’ Purdy said.
He also said the church had a couple of schools lined up before the mandate and already had decided to begin with Burroughs-Molette, the school Christ Church supports with backpack donations and other programs.
“We’re trying to get 10,000 more,’’ and the church is accepting donations to the Christ Church Pandemic Fund to help purchase them.
To donate, go to the website ccfssi.org/give.