LAKESIDE — The Rotary Club of Harbor Country made a special delivery to the superintendents of the New Buffalo and River Valley school districts on Monday, June 1.

Club members have made 400 face masks for kindergartners through fifth-graders, and plan to soon have 200 more (ultimately donating 300 to each district).

Leslie Wood of the Rotary Club said after making face masks for members of her family, she had the idea of making them for local school children.

A member of a knitting group that has made hats and mittens for New Buffalo and River Valley pupils in the past, she said another knitter (Therese Oneskin) told her on a knitting Zoom call that “we’re doing that’ in a group called the Michiana Mask Makers.

She said Michiana Mask Maker Linda Stawicki led the way in a community-wide effort that has yielded hundreds of face masks for those who need them most like those in nursing homes and food service people in the Michigan City schools.

“Linda really was the consultant to this whole thing,” Wood said. “I proposed it at the Rotary meeting and got 12 volunteers. It’s been this assembly line … It’s been this unbelievable team effort.”

Those pitching in to make the masks (more than a dozen in all) included: Darlene Heemstra, Larry Shawver, Lori Robinson, Lori Bulthuis, Arlene Feinberg, Allison Strauss, Bonnie Pollak, Linda Anderson, Georgiana Gormley, Kathy Jones, Deborah Hall-Kayler, Tom Rosenbluth and Tom Rosenbluth.

On hand June 1 to model the masks (pre-washed) were River Valley fourth-grader Addison Lynch and New Buffalo fifth-grader Annie Gradowski before Wood handed boxes of face masks to Superintendents Will Kearney (River Valley) and Dr. Jeff Leslie (New Buffalo).

The masks given to the superintendents have notes attached to them advising that they be washed before using since they were assembled by multiple people.

Wood said the plan is to distribute some of the 200 yet-to-be made masks at summer feeding programs in the two districts.

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