By Gaige Davila
A small, red cooler in the Golf Course neighborhood of Laguna Vista has become a welcome sign of relief for many needing face coverings.
Dixie Jo Cullens, a Laguna Vista resident for the last two years, has made cotton face masks for the last month and a half, using the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) guidelines.
“When they said we were going to have a shortage of masks, I said ‘I can sow, and I got stuff, so that’s what I’ll do,’” Cullens said.
Since April 13, the Cameron County Judge’s Office has mandated face covering wearing county-wide, if you’re in public.
Cullens has made 65 masks for staff at Angelcare Homes in Harlingen, Texas, and even a local UPS driver, Tony Lucio. In all, she’s made over 200 masks since she started.
“I don’t know how many UPS masks I’ve made,” she said, laughing.
When orders are ready, Cullens leaves masks in a small red cooler outside her door in brown paper bags with names written on them. On a window near the front door is a sign, saying essential workers can get two free face masks. Otherwise, they are $5 each.
But Cullens isn’t making the face masks for profit. Any money made from face masks goes to buying more material to make face masks for essential workers.
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected Cullens’ family trips to Monterrey, Mexico, and visits from family from Seattle, which have been cancelled, along with her weekly bible study.
“At least I have a project that I can do,” Cullens said. “I can make these masks and feel like I’m helpful to society and not just sitting around waiting for something to be over.”