by Amanda Renkiewicz
It’s not Halloween or a Masquerade, but we’ve seen more masks in the last months than in our entire lives! The COVID-19 pandemic has turned masks into a 2020 outfit staple. These health saving prevention measures were rarely seen outside of a hospital, explaining the boring design. But who says you can’t stay stylish with a mask on? Thankfully, Janis Haine, a community powerhouse in Northern Michigan, caterer, and baker extraordinaire assures you that you can.
“I started sewing when I was nine years old!” Janis explains. “I made ALL of my clothes, from coats, slips, and suits. Everything I wore I made myself.” She also sewed for friends, and sold some of her designs. She recently bought a new sewing machine, hoping to have more time for sewing. “I didn’t expect to be sewing all of these masks!” she laughs. She now has fifteen different patterns, ranging from sports teams to animals. Not only has Janis sold over 275 masks, she has been donating the proceeds to worthy causes in the area.
As the President of a Women’s Club in Northern Michigan, Janis is no stranger to charitable giving. The prestigious non-profit organization (OMWC) was organized in 1931, exclusively for philanthropic and educational purposes. Fundraisers are carried out throughout the year, including their May garage sale, and Bayshore Marathon event. Unfortunately, the health crisis has thrown off their traditional plans. Fundraising efforts have been postponed, but through Janis’s mask-making, she donated her first $1,000 to the Grand Traverse Baby Pantry. With her second $1,000 (and growing), she is donating the funds to the Women’s Club, who in turn will contribute it to organizations in need. The OWMC has supported countless local causes in the Traverse City area, including area schools, Child and Family Services, Community Libraries, Peace Ranch, the Women’s Resource Center, Addiction Treatment Services, and more. “We hope to be back in time for our Christmas cookie sale,” Janis adds (loyal fans are crossing their fingers!).
While much of life remains on hold, Janis’ sewing machine is busy at work! “I’m going to keep making them, since I have so much material that’s pre-cut and ready. I think we’ll be needing masks for a while,” she says. Janis sells each mask for $10, and offers women’s, men’s, children’s, and custom sizes. Many of the people who bought a mask donated even more than the cost. “Northern Michigan is very much into giving. I’ve never experienced that anywhere else I’ve lived. People here really care about the community.” Masks may be a required prevention measure, yet by making them stylish and supportive to organizations in need, a mask by Janis Haine is better than the rest.