MSMS parent spends quarantine sewing masks for healthcare workers

Alden Wiygul and Gina Nguyen

Since stay-at-home orders have been issued in various states across the country, many people are finding they now have a lot more time on their hands. While some are picking up new hobbies, many are utilizing the skills they already have. MSMS parent and Biloxi resident Dianne Nguyen has spent the past couple months making face masks for local residents and healthcare workers.

“[Coronavirus] affects everyone in the world and in the United States. I figured everybody needs to wear masks when they go outside, go to the store or somewhere in public,” Nguyen said.

When Nguyen first immigrated to America 25 years ago, she found work as a tailor and has been saving any extra fabric scraps since. Along with elastic bands and hair ties, this is what she now uses to sew together face masks.

“When I have time, I cut a lot of [fabric], about a 100 and make it little by little. In the moment, [my son] is at home studying online anyways, so he helps me cut threads and irons [the masks],” Nguyen said. “When I have 50 or 60, something like that, my friend comes by to pick it up.”

“I think [this is] a really unselfish act of these people who are in quarantine and taking time out to sort of volunteer, maybe not in a physical location but using the skills they have, trades that they’ve learned in the past to try to contribute in a way that really impacts how we’re handling the crisis,” said Gary Nguyen, Dianne’s eldest son.

On average, Nguyen makes between 20 to 30 masks a day. So far, her masks have been distributed to nursing homes and hospitals in New Orleans, La.; Houston, Texas; and New York City, N.Y.

“During the time I make [the masks], I pray, and I put my love in every single one. They can be protected [from] any kind of sickness or around people sneezing or coughing.”

Featured in video: Dianne Nguyen and Gary Nguyen

Narrated and filmed by: Gina Nguyen

Edited by: Alden Wiygul