When my family would go on a car trip, we usually would begin by asking, “Kids, have you gone to the bathroom?”
Now we ask, “Kids, have you gotten your masks?”
Mask-wearing has become important due to the pandemic and the requirements of many stores and municipalities. One Kansas woman has helped respond to the need for masks in her community and beyond, earning her recognition as an Ag Hero from the Kansas Department of Agriculture during the 2020 Ag Growth Summit.
Keri comes from the town of Reserve in Brown County originally. Her family moved to Derby, where she grew up and went to college. A job opportunity took her to Lawrence where she met her husband, and they now live on his family farm east of Overbrook and have two children.
Keri Harris has been the district manager for the Franklin County Conservation District since 2001. On her own time, she has become a prolific mask-maker.
“Our nine-year-old daughter is in the sewing project in 4-H,” Keri said. “When the pandemic first hit, our local extension office sent out an email that the local care home was needing masks. I thought it might be a good, simple sewing project for my daughter.”
Keri and her daughter picked out a design, used some leftover fabric that they had on hand, and sewed several masks which for the care home.
“I posted a picture of her helping me sew on Facebook,” Keri said. “People said, `Oh, if you have any extra, we could sure use them.’” So, Keri and her daughter sewed some more and gave them away.
“She helped me with about the first 50 before she lost interest,” Keri said. However, people were still asking for masks so Keri continued sewing them. “I had done quilting before the kids were born. It was fun to do this. We were using miscellaneous leftover fabric that we had on hand, so we would sew them and give them away.”
After she started buying fabric, people volunteered to pay for the masks. She told them they could donate money to buy more fabric. K-State, Chiefs, and Royals prints have been popular. Continue reading “Kansas Profile – Now That’s Rural: Keri Harris, volunteer mask-maker”