Whitemarsh Elementary School's Clarke brothers help make 675+ face masks
two young boys and baby on floor with masks

Johnny (left) and Jimmy Clarke with their little sister Emily and several of the masks they helped to make.

Whitemarsh Elementary School (WE) second grader Jimmy Clarke and his brother, first grader Johnny Clarke, have joined forces with their family to sew more than 675 face masks for healthcare workers, essential personnel and others.

"It has been a fun family project and a way that we can help flatten the curve while we stay home," said Angie Clarke, the boy's mother.

Jimmy and Johnny have mastered cutting elastic and turning the masks inside out — and are even able to do some of the sewing. Mrs. Clarke and husband Jim take care of the trickier parts. Many of the finished masks have gone to hospitals, doctors offices and other essential workers in the community.

"I like to help the nurses," said Johnny. "Sewing is my favorite part." 

With the new recommendation for anyone in the area to wear masks in public, the family started collecting donations for local organizations in return for the masks. They collected  $1,000 for the Colonial Neighborhood Council and $2,000 for Today is a Good Day, a local organization that helps NICU families, in honor of their fifth family member, baby Emily.

Now, the boys have expanded their efforts to provide "ear savers" that they make through 3D printing. The wearer can use the plastic ear saver to hold the elastic from the face mask behind their head instead of looping the elastic behind their ears.

Jim, Jimmy and Johnny Clarke working on masks in the family dining room.

"I like to sew, but now I am loving to work the 3D printer," said Jimmy.

In addition to giving the boys new sewing and technology skills — as well as the rewards of community service, the project also keeps the family busy during the quarantine. 

"They love these hands-on activities, and it is keeping them entertained!" said Mrs. Clarke.