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With 24,450 Masks and Gowns made for the pandemic: Threaded Together looks to the future

Updated: Jan 12, 2021

2020 is over, but the COVID-19 pandemic rages on. In the midst of that, we've donated 3,750 mask kits to the Navajo and Hopi reservations, given 11,564 masks and mask kits to shelterless people in Flagstaff through a partnership with Talla Hogan Info Shop. We've sent 4,985 kids masks to Coconino County Health and Human Services and Flagstaff Unified School District. We've made over 4,000 hospital gowns for the Northern Arizona Volunteer Medical Corps and mended another 4,000 gowns for Flagstaff Medical Center.

All in a year's work right? I mean, at least for 2020.

When Threaded Together co-founders Tina La Chance and Lindsey Watson opened the doors to a small Kachina Square Shopping Center studio, they never dreamed they would churn out more than 24,000 pieces of personal protective equipment (to be sent to their neighboring healthcare workers and communities). They couldn’t have imagined hiring eight people to sew full time during a pandemic. Likely, neither had ever made a face mask before nor thought for even a second about the construction of hospital gowns.

Threaded Together’s mission is to inspire creativity and connection through textile arts programs that empower and employ women and vulnerable populations in the Flagstaff community. In the months when national unemployment numbers were climbing to record highs, Threaded Together was hiring. When people in Flagstaff searched for purpose, Threaded Together’s driven sewing team was methodically running quality control checks on life-saving pieces of protective equipment.

Today, Threaded Together’s alterations department is open for business! Every repair, alteration, and custom sewing project helps to fund vocational training programs for vulnerable people and the non-profit’s classroom offerings.

While the pandemic has held off any in-person sewing classes for the foreseeable future, lesson plans are in the works for socially distanced and Zoom-based learning. The goal is to offer affordable textile arts programs for adults and children- offering tactile creative outlets, and creating digital (and eventually physical) safe spaces for community and inspiration to flourish.

The vocational training or STEP program will also kick off soon. In a partnership with Sharon Manor, Threaded Together will onboard apprentices to learn the art of mending, production sewing, and tailoring. Offering real-world experience, and serving as a production shop for local businesses, and mending/alterations store for the community, Threaded Together will work to ensure STEP participants earn marketable skills. Skills to help them enter sustainable careers with a sense of satisfaction and empowerment.

2021 is looking like a bright, hopeful new year indeed!

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