A year ago Rachael Danieluk joined a group of NOTL women to start making masks for front-line workers.
After that project came to a close, it evolved into her own homemade mask shop at the end of her driveway, which is still operating 12 months later as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.
“There were about 60 of us. We were making masks and donating them to front-line workers. And then I decided to see if the community wanted to buy them, so I put a little tent out here,” Danieluk said in an interview at her East/West Line home.
“I thought it would only last for a few weeks, but here I am a year later.”
Danieluk's shop, which started off as a tent, has evolved into a small sunroom where anyone can stop in and purchase a homemade face mask for $5.
She said she has “regular customers” who stop in to buy masks and she's selling about 20 to 30 per week.
People have even come to know the shop as the “$5 mask stand,” she said.
The extra revenue has been helpful during the pandemic, she said.
“At the time my husband was laid off, so it was good to get a bit of extra money come in.”
Her husband, who specializes in building glass sunrooms, built her shop with extra materials he had.
“In the beginning, because nothing was open, it was very, very busy. I was selling out every day, but now they're everywhere, they're in all the stores. At the beginning you couldn't buy them anywhere really, 'cause nowhere was open.”
Danieluk said she's donated about 1,000 masks and the mask group donated “tens of thousands.”
She had also been making scrubs and gowns for NOTL health care workers.
“And then that started dying off, so I just thought I'd see if (the shop) goes, because I had so much fabric from making clothes for my kids.”
She said she dabbled in sewing when she was in high school, but really picked up the skill when her children were born.
“I used to sew back when I was a teenager, but I hadn't done it for quite some time.”
Her masks have gone all over the world, she said.
“I'm from Britain, so I sent quite a lot of parcels back, because they're quite behind the mask policy. The kids don't have to wear them or anything over there.”
She said NOTL farmers have also purchased masks for their workers to take back to Jamaica.
“So that's been quite nice,” Danieluk said.
She also continues to donate masks, most recently to the farmworker welcome packages organized by Jane Andres.