Marion woman uses skill for good during pandemic

Caitlin and her mom Shana Thornhill have been making masks for medical professionals and others for free asking simply that they pay the kindness forward.

With the Coronavirus pandemic quickly spreading throughout the country, the CDC has urged people to wear protective face masks when out in public, and with the virus continuing, there has been a shortage of masks for both health care professionals and individuals.

Free Press Columnist Shana Thornhill, who lives in Marion, has taken on the task of making masks at home to give to those who need them to feel safe and protected, whether they’re working in the medical field or going to the grocery store.

My kids were on spring break and I was trying to figure out something to teach them, and I thought a sewing project would be a good idea, and then people were starting to talk about masks,” Thornhill said. “We made some patterns and got some material from (Marion’s) Sew What Quilt Shop, and just started. Ever since then, I’ve posted what we’ve been doing, and my neighbor asked if we had any extras that could go to Marion Assisted Living, and since then I’ve been cranking them out like crazy.”

Thornhill has taken up the policy of, instead of charging for the masks, she gives them for free and asks that people pay the thought forward by donating to a charity, church or food bank.

I thought at this time I wouldn’t feel right charging for them. There are people that might need them that are health compromised that really can’t pay. I thought asking people to donate would maybe be a way to keep the good going,” Thornhill said.

The masks are being sent to different health care facilities in many communities as well as individuals who have reached out to Thornhill, who sometimes then pass more on.

The masks have gone to Marion Assisted Living, St. Luke’s Hospital, my husband’s cousin works at the Marion County Sheriff’s Department and they asked for some,” Thornhill said. “I took some over to my aunt in Wichita who works at Via Cristi, and also took some to Peabody Assisted Living and to my step-son in Salina for friends of theirs that work in things like chiropractic. Some have even ended up with a friend of a friend in Colorado.”

Some of the 500 masks that Shana and Caitlin Thornhill have made for free for medical professionals and others.