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Seeing a Need: Freshman Uses Extra Time to Help Others

Ashley Buchholz sewing masks

May 11, 2020

UNC freshman Ashley Buchholz had a little extra time on her hands after being laid off. She used that time to help others.

Ashley BuchholzAshley Buchholz, a freshman Pre-Nursing major from Buckley, Washington, has been staying in Greeley during the stay-at-home order and will be here over the summer. While talking with her mom in March, and hearing about how critical the COVID-19 situation was in her home state, she began to think about making masks.

Her boyfriend, Nathan Moore, is also from Buckley, where his father is the assistant chief of the fire department, and he shared some of the struggles first responders were facing. “Fire department workers were worried about putting their families at-risk,” Buchholz said.

She wanted to do something to help. Quarantining in her apartment without a sewing machine, she started trying to make cloth masks by hand to give away.

A person on Greeley’s Helping Hands Facebook page saw her post about offering free masks — and helped her out by loaning her a sewing machine. It made a huge difference in the number she was able to make. Then, hearing about her efforts, Moore’s family brought her a second, faster machine to use, and that’s when she really started making progress. Since she started, she’s made about 300 masks.

“I had been laid off from my job and ended up making the masks and giving them away and sending them home to families in Buckley,” she said.

She’s kept herself busy during the stay-at-home order, between classwork and masks and has been enjoying a newcomer to her apartment — a new kitten. She's staying in Greeley through the summer, returning to class in the fall. Her goals for nursing also helped strengthen her desire to make a difference.

“The main reason I made them for free and wanted to help out was because I saw how hard the pandemic was hitting the medical community, and I soon hope to be part of that community after nursing school. So, I wanted to do my part now. Helping the community was my way of helping nurses and doctors by stopping the virus’s spread,” she said.

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