mask5“We are working as fast as we can to fulfill orders for the community.” Yolanda Soto a community leader and El Pueblo volunteer describes the El Pueblo Forest Mujeres Unidas (Women United) group’s efforts in sewing face masks and providing them to local medical mask1facilities and the community at large.  The group is a Latina women’s group whose mission is to educate, empower and celebrate.  As seen across the country, many have helped in sewing and providing masks.   What makes this Forest group so special??  These women are giving back to a community where less than 8 months ago, their lives were devastated and disrupted by the largest single-state ICE raids in history.  95% of the women in the Mujeres Unidas group are waiting for a deportation hearing and wear ankle monitors or have an immediate family member who is in a detention center or waiting for a hearing.  Facing the looming and unimaginable fear of leaving their home and community, unable to work, and the anxiety of being  forced to making impactful decisions for their children and family is an everyday struggle for these women.  They have faced and are facing a devastating and life altering experience.   mask2

Yet, while facing an unknown future for themselves and their families, they give their time and skills to sew masks for the community they call home.  El Pueblo is honored and humbled to be a small part of these women’s lives.  Many masks have been made and delivered.  Recipients include Lackey Memorial Hospital, Home Medical Center, Nu way Laundry Mat, La Fe, and 3 other local stores and many, many community members.  Priority is now being given to poultry plant workers, who are facing high rates of coronavirus infection at their essential workplace.

Ms. Soto noted that the group needs more sewing machines; currently they are sharing machines.  Also, more backing material and elastic is needed. If you can donate materials or machines, please call (228) 365-1237.