A group of women in Mayo, Florida, are sewing and embroidering 2,000 face masks for Haven Hospice amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The face masks don the “HavenStrong” logo, one that represents connectedness and strength during a very challenging time for everyone, especially those working in healthcare. Haven’s associates and volunteers will receive half of the custom masks, while Haven’s community partners across its 18-county service area will receive the other half.

“This is something we thought about after updated facemask guidelines were released by the CDC,” said Fred Schaaf, Haven’s director of professional liaisons. “The purpose is to do something for our referral partners, employees and volunteers. During the pandemic, they can wear these masks in the public or while inside Haven’s buildings. We want to show the community that we appreciate what they’re doing and provide something important as we look forward to starting back to regular business.”

Hyta Folsom, who is collaborating with A3 Graphics on the facemask efforts, said she and her group of three to five friends in the Mayo area are working Monday through Friday, and even some weekends, to complete the project. “We’re glad we can do something that makes a difference to people. A lot of people need masks right now and at this point in time, we have time to help,” said Hyta. “It gives us a chance to do something worthwhile. We’re all friends, so it also gives us a chance for camaraderie and to be together and enjoy each other’s company while working.”

The group of women were contacted by Haven Professional Liaison Elizabeth Phillips, who was seeking help for mask embroidery. Haven’s clinical staff are provided sufficient personal protective equipment, but Haven wanted to provide support staff, volunteers and referral partners with masks, as well, during a time where they were especially hard to find. Haven provided the material and a nominal amount of funds, then Hyta and A3 Graphics’ Liz Lemmon in Mayo began working together to make the masks. A3 Graphics is putting the embroidered logo on the material, then Hyta and her friends, who turned her home in to a mask production facility, complete the sewing.

Hyta said many of her friends are passionate about the work Haven does to serve their community. “Some of my friends have dealt with Haven and have high respect for those who work there,” said Hyta. “They are familiar with Haven and are always complimentary about the services Haven provides. I’m very happy to help out on this level.”


Hyta Folsom and her friends create HavenStrong masks for Haven associates, volunteers and community partners.