INDIAN TRAIL – Grace Laney misses friends and teachers at Porter Ridge Middle School, but she enjoys spending the extra time at home sewing masks for people who need them.
Grace estimates she has sewn over 500 masks in two weeks for nursing homes, children’s hospitals, retail employees, the military, firefighters, family, friends and even the mayor and his family.
“I heard there was a shortage of masks,” Grace said. “I put my sewing abilities to use and that’s why I started sewing masks for Union County.”
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Grace learned about mask shortages from the news. She was also inspired by a nephew with a bleeding disorder who is served by St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
Giving back to the community is not new to Grace. She has previously supported the Special Olympics. Cindy’s Hope Chest and fundraisers for veterans.
Grace has been competing in pageants for two years. She had a string of first runner-up finishes before winning the Jr. Miss North Carolina Cosmos title in January. She is scheduled to compete in a national pageant in July in Florida.
Her pageant platform is Stuffed With Love, an initiative in which she sews pillows for animals in local shelters. She wants to become a veterinarian when she grows up because she loves animals.
A neighbor taught Grace how to sew when she was 12 years old. She didn’t realize at the time how the skill could help others in the community.
Friend Crystal Buchaluk says Grace has spent 12 to 14 hours a day making masks and delivering them to others.
She’s also recruited others to help her sew. People interested in donating money, supplies or time to the project can reach out to Grace on social media.
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