The go-to source of masks for Boston Public Radio co-hosts Jim Braude and Margery Egan are a colorful supply crafted by their colleagues.
“For me, there is sort of a moral imperative to drag out the sewing machine at this time,” Danielewski says. “It helps me feel less helpless.” Sewing is in her blood—her mother made many of the family’s clothes when she was growing up. She sews on a machine handed down by her mother.
Danielewski is hunkered down at home with her children ages 16, 18 and 20, her husband, and Yahtzee, their Australian Kelpie. “We’re constantly negotiating who is going to use all of our common areas, and when I get to use the kitchen table, it's cutting time,” she says.
“It’s the only way I can emotionally get through this pandemic,” says Nick Pollard, right, with wife Melissa. “Nurses and doctors are working 18 hours a day, so why can’t I do my part to help those first responders?” Pollard learned to sew when he was a Boy Scout.
Most of Pollard’s materials are donated by his mother-in-law’s sewing group for young girls at the Barnstable County 4-H on Cape Cod. “This was the first time I had sewn in years, but just like riding a bike, it all came back to me," he says.
Pollard’s first batch of masks were fashioned while watching television with his daughters, ages 14 and 16, and their two Westies, Finn and Max.
Danielewski leaves a bag of masks for pick-up by Terry Quinn, a WGBH colleague who is on her way to work at WGBH in Brighton. “They aren’t Project Runway quality finish work for sure, but quantity and efficiency are the goal for me here,” says Danielewski.
Quinn, senior operations manager for WGBH's Production Group, sports one of Danielewski’s creations.
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Most days, before she begins her workday from home, WGBH’s Donna Danielewski sits down at her sewing machine and whips off a few face masks. A couple of towns away, colleague Nick Pollard and his wife Melissa (a WGBH freelancer) often stay up into the wee hours cranking out face masks. Between the two of them, they have fashioned almost 200 masks in the past several days — destined for the WGBH newsroom, where a skeleton staff works every day to keep the station on air, and to area hospitals, grocery stores, and nursing homes.
“I am truly touched by their efforts,” says Kate Zachry, news director for WGBH News. “They are helping keep the team safe while they report the news, keep us on air and ensure our audience remains informed.”
For Claudia Palmer, WGBH’s chief operating officer, Danielewski and the Pollards exemplify team spirit.
“I am so inspired to see this kind of camaraderie and empathy among the WGBH community,” she says.
Danielewski is senior director of The Carl and Ruth Shapiro Family National Center for Accessible Media at WGBH, which works to ensure that media is accessible for people with disabilities. Nick Pollard is a coordinating producer in finance for WGBH’s Media and Library Archives and WORLD Channel at WGBH. Melissa Pollard is a longtime WGBH producer currently working on a COVID-19 special for NOVA.
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