(WEST CHESTER) — In early April, State Senator Andy Dinniman kickstarted the MaskUp Chester County challenge to encourage Chester County and PA residents to create and show off their homemade masks in response to Pa. Dept of Health and CDC guidelines.
The challenge then went into user voting to pick the top mask in two categories: “Best In-Theme,” with the theme of “My Mask Protects You, and Your Mask Protects Me,” as well as “Most Creative.”
With over 100 submissions and almost 200 votes, the winners have been determined: Yolanda Rodriguez won “Best In-Theme,” and Julia Swisher won “Most Creative.”
“When one person wears a mask, they’re making the conscientious decision to protect others around them,” Dinniman said. “If everyone wears a mask, everyone has an added layer of protection. That’s what our theme was about: my mask will protect you, and your mask will protect me.”
Rodriguez’s mask post received the most votes for “Best In-Theme” as people rallied behind her cause: according to her post, she donated every mask she made to local nurses and healthcare practitioners.
“I supplied safe and effective masks to Bryn Mawr Hospital, Epstein Medical Center nurses, Bayada Hospital Nurses, and to holistic care nurses. I even supplied to some of their clients after they inquired where they got their masks from,” said Rodriguez. “I also made masks for UPS, FedEx, and US postal workers, and make it a point to make sure everyone one I see is wearing their mask correctly, because my mask keeps you safe and your mask keeps me safe.”
Swisher won “Most Creative” for her specially designed mask to fit kid-sized faces.
“The inspiration for my mask came from my 9-year-old son, Turner,” said Swisher.
“I launched the MaskUp Chester County Challenge — a homemade mask challenge — because we wanted to see all the amazing homemade mask designs that our community has created and continues to create,” Dinniman said. “Whether it was an art project, a family craft day, or a way to express creativity, the community brought their best and brightest ideas. All of these masks are truly spectacular.“
“I expected to see not only some amazing designs, but also some amazing stories,” Dinniman said. “What amazed me is how many people worked within this theme of solidarity – so many of the submissions were focused on donating masks to local communities, and paying forward to help others.”
Many Pennsylvania residents have asked where they can find or purchase masks to keep themselves and others safe. Online guides and official Pa. Dept. of Health guidelines have shown that masks which limit the spread of COVID-19 and other airborne infections are able to be made from home.
“Let’s continue to work together to protect one another. Wearing these masks is a symbol of how we can keep our fellow Chester Countians and Pennsylvanians safe and healthy. Truly, everyone who posted their mask creation – they’re all winners,” Dinniman said. While the challenge is officially over, he also encouraged local residents to continue posting their homemade masks at Facebook.com/Senatorandydinniman.