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EVERYDAY HEROES: Local seamstress teams up with Brown Bag Coalition to make masks for hospital workers

CALEXICO, Calif. (KYMA, KECY)- Since the age of 13, Elizabeth Esqueda has always had a talent for sewing.

"I never thought that my passion would be helping our community. I'm really grateful that I have these skills and I can do something for them."

With masks flying off the shelves, Esqueda is doing her part making sure health workers get the supplies they need to battle the coronavirus on the front lines.

"For now until they get new shipments or new ones come in, they were asking sewers to make masks for medical personnel to use."

But she's not alone. The Brown Bag Coalition along with her wife Maria Vargas is lending a hand.

Vargas said, "I cut out the squares. Once she's sewn the first part, I flip them over cause they're sewn inside out. If she needs me to iron before she starts pleating them, I help her with that."

Louise Kenney, the Chief Clinical Officer for the El Centro Regional Medical Center is urging residents not to buy masks unless it's urgent.

"Let the people who need the masks have the masks. Because we're in close proximity to patients. Whether they have coronavirus or suspected coronavirus or TB. We're also taking care of patients with other needs, not just coronavirus  that requires us to have this equipment."

With little to no experience, Esqueda said any sewer can make a difference.

"They're very easy to make and there are several types that you can make, several patterns. This is one of the easiest ones.  Even sewest that are starting, they can do this. It's easy to do and they'll be helping someone out."

Brown Bag Coalition Co-founder, Maribel Padilla said that by the end of the week hundreds of masks will be donated to those who need them most.

"When she's done, we'll see if our local hospitals need it. And if they don't need it then we'll ship it off to the hospitals that do. But if they need it then we'll keep it here in the valley," said Padilla.

For more information on how you can help Esqueda and her mission to make more masks, you can contact the Brown Bag Coalition on their social media page.

If you know an everyday hero who's helping you or your neighbors during the coronavirus outbreak, News 11 would love to hear about it.

Give them a shoutout and email us at, with everyday heroes in the subject line.

Or go to our homepage and click the share button.

Coronavirus / Everyday Heroes / Imperial County

Billy Khang

Billy Khang joined KYMA in January of 2018 as a Multimedia Journalist.


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