“This is a great time to band together and do what we do best – sew,” said Katina Lindsay, coordinator of the Mercer County Community College Fashion Merchandising and Design program. “So we thought: Why not do something as a school, and as a community? Why not do something that is community driven?”

The idea: a virtual “Sew-a-Thon” conducted by Mercer County Community College (MCCC) Fashion Merchandising and Design students and faculty to help meet the local need. As the U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC) is now recommending all citizens wear facemasks when venturing out in public to help curb the spread of COVID-19, this initiative provides the perfect opportunity to engage with and support the community.

MCCC’s Fashion Merchandising and Design program, headquartered at the college’s James Kerney Campus in Trenton, is equipped with a state-of-the-art design and sewing lab that prepares graduates for entry into the fashion industry or for transfer to a four-year degree program. With so much creative energy, Lindsay said, students are eager to get back to their sewing machines and in this case, make a difference.

“I’ve had Zoom calls with students all week, and a lot of them are anxious to sew,” Lindsay said. “Out in the community we have lots of crafters, fashion students, theater students, lots of people with sewing machines. We’re all in this together, so let’s do something together.”

Lindsay, along with students and faculty of the MCCC Fashion program, will be hosting the virtual sew-a-thon each Saturday in April from noon to 3 p.m., and invites “anyone with a sewing machine” in the community to join in. Participants can sign up at www.mccc.edu/mask-team to receive the Zoom login information. She notes that Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores is providing facemask kits, free of charge, as well as instructional videos on its website on how to make them.

Thus far Lindsay has made about 100 of the masks on her own, which she has distributed throughout the community. She said she is in the process of reaching out to community organizations throughout the region to determine where the masks are needed, and will be directing items produced from the sew-a-thon to those organizations.

For anyone with a passion to sew, there’s no better way to serve the community in this time of crisis, she said.

“Let’s all come together, and sew together,” Lindsay said. “Working together works.”