Orange County 4-H Lends a Hand Making Masks

MIDDLETOWN – The Orange County 4-H Team at Cornell Cooperative Extension Orange County has been working to find ways to connect 4-Her’s, their families and the public during the COVID-19 pandemic. “Lending hands to larger service” is a part of the 4-H pledge and is one that Orange County has been funneling into their ideas for continuing to reach and connect their audiences.

DeAnna Sardella-Matthews, Orange County 4-H Resource Educator at CCEOC, has a sister in the local home healthcare field. She told DeAnna that she was in need of a mask, and so she quickly formed a plan to help not only healthcare workers, but any essential employees and volunteers while also connecting her Team and 4-H Youth to the cause.

Orange County 4-H holds sewing labs when there is interest and usually have the supplies ready to complete basic projects. DeAnna immediately stepped up and researched how to construct face masks and already had a personal supply of fabric as well as 4-H fabric from the sewing labs. She began learning to make masks herself as well as put together kits for 4-H Youth to be able to sew them. Directions were circulated and the sewing took off.

The project has only just begun but they are working each day to make more masks and have completed close to 100. DeAnna has been working hard to find more supplies, especially elastic, as it is being depleted.

Community Home Health Care of Middletown and the CCEOC Gleaning Program Team were among the first essential people to receive the masks made by Orange County 4-H. Others will soon go to local Churches, Soup Kitchens and Food Pantries through a safe distribution process.

Along with making masks, 4-Her’s who are unable to sew masks have stepped up to contribute to the initiative by making cards and writing thank you notes to essential employees to show their appreciation and spread some light during this time of so much darkness.

If you would like to learn how to make a mask, Orange County 4-H will be providing instructions on the CCEOC website:

It is Cornell Cooperative Extension Orange County’s current mission to provide up to date reliable information and to continue serving our communities. Our office in Middletown remains closed but we are still here for you. Please call 845-344-1234 or email with any questions or concerns we may be able to provide assistance with. Check our website for resources that may help you, your family and others during this time.

Cornell Cooperative Extension and its partnerships provide programs for Orange County residents on youth and family development; nutrition, health, and food safety; community and economic vitality; and agricultural sustainability through Cornell based research. Committed to Orange County, we design programs to meet local needs to enable people to improve their lives and communities. For more information call Cornell Cooperative Extension Orange County at 845-344-1234 or visit our website at

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