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Jun. 5, 2020
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Marine canvas owners step up during COVID-19

By Pamela A. Keene 
 
In early April, several Lake Lanier canvas fabricators set out to make 10,000 face masks. Within three weeks, they’d not only hit their target, they exceeded it by 50 percent.
 
“Thanks to the help of the community, we’ve been able to make more than 15,000 face masks, many of which have been sent across the country,” said Joni Johnstone, who owns Lakeside Marine Canvas with her husband Daymon. “It’s been an amazing response that has ended up not costing a penny because of the GoFundMe page.”
 
The couple reached out to Craig’s Marine Canvas and Tammy the Cover Girl to collaborate. Lakeside Marine purchased 350 yards specialty fabric from Kimberly-Clark, developed a workable pattern, then using Lakeside’s digitized cutting table, cut thousands of masks. Most were assembled and sewed by Craig’s and Tammy’s businesses, along with members of the community who volunteered. 
 
“We even had a colleague in the business from Massachusetts who sent us 250 yards of fabric to cut and ship back to him,” she said. “Some of the masks we’ve made have been sent to people in other states, including New York, Utah and Arizona and Michigan, places where people who are making them here have connections. We sent some to our son who is stationed in Hawaii. Many also were donated to local bus drivers, lunchroom workers, police and fire stations and nursing homes, and they’re making a difference.”
 
Johnstone used the Lake Lanier Boaters Group Facebook page to get the word out, giving regular updates about progress. Individuals and community groups, including Girl Scout troop 2665, have participated in the project. 
 
“Our goal was to make 10,000 masks, and as of April 20, we had made more than 15,000,” Johnstone said. “And we’ve raised enough money through GoFundMe to pay for the expenses, which came to just more than $5,150. I’d say this has been a successful initiative, and it couldn’t have been done without everyone in the community pitching in.”

Posted online 4/30/20
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