Volunteer Spotlight: Meet Barbara who donates her mask making proceeds to the Marlborough Community Cupboard

Barbara from Marlborough has teamed up with SpecialTeas in Northborough to sell her face masks since the onset of the pandemic. Read more about her story below. If you are interested in purchasing a mask you can visit SpecialTeas.  Masks sell for $5.00, or $10.00 for a sports themed or hockey helmet mask. 


Name: Barbara Resendes

Town of residence: Marlborough

Which UWTC program(s) do you volunteer for?

Marlborough Community Cupboard

How long have you been volunteering here?

I started making masks and donating proceeds since May 2020

Why did you decide to volunteer?

Masks were hard to come by at the beginning of the pandemic because hospitals needed them, and health authorities requested that the public wear them. Even fabric stores like Joann Fabric were running out of fabric due to the demand for masks. Since I sew, I decided to make some for family and friends using material I had on hand. The masks were well received, and some suggested I should sell them.

At the same time unemployment was starting to become a serious issue. I was out of a job (part-time administrative assistant at MA Hockey Leagues; now defunct) since the beginning of the pandemic so I had the time available to sew. I already knew some people who were dealing with food insecurities and figured more people were dealing with not having enough to eat due to increasing unemployment. That's when I decided to make more masks and sell them with hopes to donate proceeds to the Marlboro Community Cupboard food pantry.

To help reach a wider audience and to help bring people to the store, I started selling the masks at Special Teas in Northboro, where I've worked in the past and kept in touch with the owner, Martha Hammann. I also play ice hockey and with the help of my hockey friends have raised money for donations by organizing a Black Friday hockey game at NVO (Nashoba Valley Olympia rink in Boxboro) and by making and selling hockey masks that we are required to wear while skating. My initial donation goal was $1,000, which I reached in August. I then made a new goal of $2,000 and reached that in November. My new goal is $3,000. I would not be able to do this without the help of Martha, her clientele at Special Teas, all my hockey friends, and everyone who has bought masks from me.

How did you decide to volunteer with us?

I am aware of Marlboro Community Cupboard because I live in Marlboro and have donated canned goods in the past.

How does volunteering make you feel?

It makes me feel good to help others. No one should go hungry. If I can help, I will do what I can. I wish I could sew faster!!

Why do you think it's important for people to volunteer?

Taking care of each other is important.  Life is challenging and one never knows what the future has in store for you. While I am able, I'd like to help as much as I can. Someday I may need a helping hand, and I would hope someone would be there for me.

If you work, can you tell us where and what you do?

I am unemployed since the beginning of the pandemic. I used to work as an administrative assistant for MA Hockey Leagues which ran adult ice hockey leagues in and around the Boston area. I worked online to help people sign up with their teams, helped assign team/player fees, set up weekly and tournament schedules, among other things. Due to the pandemic and the lack of indoor sports, the company is now defunct so there's no chance I can go back to that job. I also officiated as a hockey referee for girls’ hockey games on the weekends, but due to the pandemic games have put that on hold until next year.

Tell us a story of a time when you knew your volunteering made a difference:

My masks are different than others in that I make the ear loops from leggings that have soft fuzzy material on the inside. So the ear loops are very comfortable.  I have gotten wonderful feedback that people like my masks and often they come back and buy more. That makes me happy and keeps me going!

What's your best advice for someone interested in volunteering?

It's wonderful to give back to your community.

Do you have any other comments you would like to add?

Thank you to all the people who volunteer to help others. You are wonderful!

We would like to thank our local businesses for teaming up with community heroes to make this possible. Pictured to the left is a beautifully set table at SpecialTeas. Lunch is still offered in a socially distanced setting with a full menu. Takeout is also available and a very popular option is to buy a mask with your meal.