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Buffalo Strong: A mask maker turns donations into food for the hungry

"There is no place in the world like Buffalo"
Posted at 6:39 PM, Apr 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-09 18:39:35-04

NORTH TONAWANDA, N.Y. (WKBW) — It all started with a simple question: Can you make me a mask? When friends asked Rebecca Blazer to put her sewing skills to use, she stepped up. One of her friends gave her a donation for the masks, but she didn’t want the money. That’s when her friend told her to use the cash to pass it forward.

It grew. Blazer and her kids began making masks for people looking for them on Facebook. She’s made about 200 to 250 masks within the past week, and she doesn’t plan to stop. People left donations in her mailbox when they picked up their masks.

“There's only so much fabric I can have. I saw the need for these Little Free Pantries to be filled each day. We took the money, and I started buying groceries. I started filling up the pantries,” Blazer said.

She shared what her family is doing on social media.

“The community was so grateful. They were so excited. I have a lot of people still asking for the masks, other people are offering to help fill up these pantries,” Blaser said.

“Buffalo really literally is the City of Good Neighbors. North Tonawanda is an expression of that,” Chad Rieselman said.

Rieselman is the pastor of Lumbar City Church in North Tonawanda and helps organize the Little Free Pantries. He says the communities response doesn't shock him.

“This beautiful story of her and her kids turning what she's doing into something that continues to give forward is exactly what you can expect from the City of Good Neighbors,” Reiselman said.

Rebecca is starting to leave her homemade masks in the pantries because of the communities help.

“We’re home from work right now with a lot of time on our hands. This kind of gives me a sense of purpose to get things done for other people,” said Blaser.

“There is no city like this. There is no place in the world like Buffalo,” said Rieselman.