As we’re all finding, resourcefulness comes in handy during a pandemic. Roberta Diggs developed sewing skills as a child when her grandmother thought she should learn to sew. Her grandmother was concerned about her granddaughter’s ability to join the workforce because Diggs is hard of hearing and wears a hearing aid. At 11, Diggs took to the lessons readily, making doll patterns out of newspaper and sewing clothes for her younger siblings’ dolls.
As an adult, she learned to quilt after taking a class at A-B Tech and went on to graduate with a degree in Fine Arts. Her Etsy store, Long Branch Crafts, makes available her hand stitched leather goods as well as the face masks she began to make earlier this year. “At the onset of COVID-19, it was a very scary time for my family in the medical field,” she says. She made and sent six masks to her sister and niece initially. Her sister, a phlebotomist, provided her with feedback so that she could improve the mask pattern.
“It wasn’t till the CDC announcement about wearing homemade face masks that my store sold out within three days,” she says. “It was exhausting, but I am contributing to saving families from being infected. I can help in a crisis like this. I have the skills and knowledge to go about getting things done.”