GLOVER — On Sunday Oct. 18, 10-year-old Abbygail Warriner, a fifth grader at the Glover School, will travel with her family and best friend to be celebrated as a Bronze Award Girl Scout for her community service during the pandemic.
The fifth grader sewed 96 masks for every single student at her elementary school, as well as dozens more for the local supermarket in Barton, the C&C Market where 36 employees were given masks made by Abbygail, and other groups and organizations in need of protective face coverings, in addition to friends of her family.
All told, she and her family estimate she’s nearing the 300 mark for donated fabric masks.
Abbygail will be among a number of Girl Scouts from both New Hampshire and Vermont who will be honored by the Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains during the Young Women of Distinction ceremony in Manchester, N.H. Her invitation stated in part, “You are one of the truly remarkable who is making our world a better place.”
The event will be staged at the Northeast Delta Dental Stadium at 1 p.m.
Abbygail’s mom, Jamie, is her troop leader and shares in the family’s pride at her accomplishment and public service.
Robin Baillargeon — Jamie’s mom and Abbygail’s mimi — is given credit for teaching Abbygail how to sew; she bought her a sewing machine for a Christmas gift two years ago, and when the pandemic struck, that machine got put to good work.
A few patterns were shared on the internet, including youtube videos for Abbygail to learn from, and she was off.
At the height of the pandemic in the early spring, it was nearly impossible to get elastic, the family explained, during an interview at their home in Glover on Sunday morning. They used hair elastic, and other creative supplies to get the job done.
Now it’s easier to get supplies, but demand for masks — and the need for them to protect people during the ongoing pandemic — remain strong.
Abbygail said when school went remote and she was suddenly doing her lessons at home and not with her friends, beginning to sew masks kept her busy and gave her a way to help others out, which felt good.
She said it was taking her less time to get her schoolwork completed, and she decided to put her extra time to a good use.
Abbygail experimented with a few patterns before finding the one that she has now mastered to the point it’s memorized and it takes her just five minutes to produce a completed, two-layer face mask. She has amassed a collection of fabrics from cotton poplin to flannel for the fall, and works to have patterns that work together, including one with elephants and white and gray polka dots.
“I learned the pattern by heart,” says Abbygail, demonstrating her mad sewing skills for a visitor for whom she had fashioned two special flannel masks, one in black and red check and one in a white and black striping pattern.
For her school mask-making project, Abbygail chose patterns kids would like, including from the Disney Frozen movie, and she made smaller masks for the kindergartners, she said.
Her grandmother, Baillargeon, had taught Abbygail how to sew quilts earlier, and she had enjoyed making little quilts, and the mask-making enterprise seemed like a good project to introduce to her granddaughter, she said.
Abbygail has sent masks off whenever she’s asked — and wherever — including to COVID hot zones, she said. People will send photos of their families sporting the masks with thank you notes, she said.
Abbygail said of her donations and drive to keep cranking out masks to donate — some people have contributed money to help with her supplies, or donated fabric and elastic, both of which she welcomes — “I like helping the community, it gives me something to do.”