As a teenager, Carina Carden thought little of her mother teaching her how to sew. Little did she know, that skill would come in handy years later.
Carina is considered high-risk for COVID-19. Her husband works as a paramedic in the federal prison in Petersburg. When the pandemic began, she saw and understood the need, and wanted to help in some way.
“I had a little bit of sewing knowledge from my mom, so I went to WalMart and bought a sewing machine,” Carina says.
Since that day in March, Carina has sewn over 800 masks for those in need.
“You can do a lot with very little,” says Carina. “You don’t have to have a lot of background to make it work. You can always learn something new.”
Armed with that mindset, she learned how to sew headbands and scrub caps. She has sewn over 800 of those, too. She works from the moment she wakes up until she goes to sleep.
“If me sewing for hours on end helps people feel like they’re not risking their lives, it’s worth it. I’m happy to relieve people of just a little bit of stress,” says Carina.
Carina doesn’t just help those in her town of Jarratt, but all over the United States and the world.
“A hospital in Ohio could not find anything local and had no PPE at the beginning of the pandemic, so I was able to send 40 masks there,” she says. The same happened with a hospital in Boston. Carina has even shipped masks to Canada and France.
“It’s so rewarding. I have hit a few brick walls. I’ve woken up hearing my sewing machine in my head. But anytime I take any time off, I feel so guilty. There are people that need these masks,” she says.
She also does not want people to feel uncomfortable in their masks.
“You should have a mask, but you shouldn’t hate wearing it. I’ve been sewing a lot of prints, such as comic books and Star Wars prints for men. Someone told me they were so excited to get a mask without flowers on it,” says Carina.
Carina said she is humbled by the nomination, but never expected to get recognition for what she was doing.
“I’m touched there are people that care that there are people behind the scenes trying to help. I can’t be there physically, but it means a lot that people see what I’m doing.”