Crafts for a cause

Junior starts non-profit to sew masks


Photo submitted by Maddie Felan

Junior Maddie Felan (left) recently started the non- profit organization All in for Children with her brother, Nick Felan (center), and his girlfriend, Elizabeth Garcia Creighton (right). The group sews masks for children in hospitals.

Similar to many students in quarantine, junior Maddie Felan has been keeping herself busy with new projects. However, instead of spending her free time finding new hobbies, she’s decided to create a non-profit organization called All in for Children to help make masks for kids in hospitals.

While Maddie was at home quarantining with her brother, Nick Felan, and his girlfriend, Elizabeth Garcia Creighton, the three brainstormed how to help children and first responders dealing with the outbreak of COVID-19. Nick and Elizabeth were both volunteering at the Children’s Hospitals in Minnesota and Dallas and had been thinking of starting an organization to help hospitals for a while, and when the virus broke out, they had the time and a cause to finally make it happen.

“I feel like we’ve talked about creating an organization like this for a while, but with us all being at home, it definitely helped us really get to sit down, figure out a name, figure out what we wanted to do and then start,” Maddie said.

Photo submitted by Maddie Felan
Pre-made mask kits are prepared for volunteers who can help with sewing. All in for Children creates masks for both children and healthcare providers at children’s hospitals.

They created All in for Children and began ordering elastics and fabric for the masks. Before the stay at home order was issued, they bought around 60 yards of fabric.

“We thought it would be the best way to try to make a difference in their lives while we can’t actually be there in person to do anything,” Nick said.

Due to a shortage of protective equipment, doctors have been putting cloth masks over N95 masks as an extra layer of protection that can be washed, allowing them to be able to reuse N95 masks. The group hopes to achieve their goal of creating a safer environment in hospitals by sewing masks for hospital workers in addition to children.

“The kids aren’t really allowed to leave their rooms at this time at all, so they’re pretty much just quarantined in their little rooms,” Elizabeth said. “There are so many people in a hospital that a lot of people don’t realize… There are PA’s and then there are therapists, so there are so many adults that are going to need masks.”

The difficulties doctors are facing as they work on the front lines against the virus are personal to both Nick, a former Marcus student, and Elizabeth, as they are both medical students at Lawrence University in Wisconsin. They came to Texas to study for their Medical College Admission Test, or MCAT, earlier this year. The MCAT was cancelled on March 27, five days before the test. This was a big disappointment to Nick and Elizabeth because they had been studying for six months, but they are now focused on helping others in need in other ways.

“We all just love working with kids, and I think the doctors that we’ve worked with, pediatricians were what we liked the most,” Nick said. “It’s just where our passions have directed us.”

Although All in for Children has plenty of materials, they do not have enough people to sew the masks. However, they have seen a great response from the community with their non-profit.

“We reached out to the community to get people to help us sew because that’s the limiting factor in all of this,” Nick said. “We can only sew so many a day, but we have enough materials to sew hundreds and hundreds.”

The group has made around 200 masks, and their goal is to make another 300 to bring to the drop-off location. The masks will be donated to Children’s Hospital in Dallas.

Maddie has been spreading the word about All in for Children through social media in hopes of getting more people to sew masks and reach their goal. She is grateful for people who have reposted or offered to donate.

“I’ve been getting a lot of people reaching out… like people that are from Marcus and their parents,” Maddie said.