Hometown Heroes: Courtney Renaud learned to sew and went to work

  • Courtney Renaud set out to make homemade masks as a gift to her grandparents. Above, she wears one of her masks as she prepares for her ballet class at the Kimball-Jenkins carriage house in early December. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff

  • Courtney Renaud set out to make homemade masks as a gift to her grandparents. She is wearing one of her masks as she prepares for her ballet class at the Kimball-Jenkins carriage house. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

Monitor staff
Published: 12/17/2020 8:52:21 AM
Modified: 12/17/2020 8:52:11 AM

With no sewing experience but plenty of time on her hands, Courtney Renaud set out to make homemade masks as a gift to her grandparents. Soon, though, her newly discovered mask-making skills would extend well beyond her circle of family and friends to the people and places that needed them most.

This spring, Renaud, a 14-year-old student at Concord High, donated nearly 800 masks across her community, including a local long-term care facility as well as local families and others in need.

“It kind of expanded. It went to my family and to my close friends, and then my mom kept posting about it on Facebook and more people kept asking,” she said.

The more the word got out, the more families in need of masks could be helped.

“There have been some families that the parents have had to go to work and the students have had to do school, and we’ve made extra masks for them, and they’ve been very thankful. So it’s been really nice to know that I helped certain families that really needed the masks,” she said.

As well as families, Renaud was commissioned to make close to 40 masks for Havenwood Heritage Heights in Concord.

“Doing the work for the nursing home was really nice because I knew that I was helping a larger group of especially elderly people who need it more,” she said. “It was really nice to know that I was helping them.”

In order to learn how to make masks, Renaud researched safety requirements on the CDC website, and her dad taught her how to sew. They then borrowed a machine from a family friend, and the whole family began working on the project. Her mom helped cut pieces and her dad helped with the sewing.

Remote classes gave her a bit more time during the day, which she’d often dedicate the making masks. After school, she and her mom delivered the masks around town.

“We would put them all in bags, and then we would put tags on each of them, knowing what went where. Then we drove around to mailboxes,” she said.

If the order was farther away, they would mail it instead.

For supplies, she received donations of fabric, thread, and money in order to sustain her operation.

“Most of (the money) I donated, and it’s just so everyone can be safe and it’s not like a business. I’m not taking money for it or anything,” she explained.

Any money Renaud had left over was donated to her school’s food drive.

Although she hasn’t been receiving as many orders lately, Renaud says she’s still willing to make masks for anyone else who might need them. She’d like to thank her mom and dad for helping her complete the project, as it wouldn’t have been possible without them, she said.

“I think it’s been really nice to know that I’ve been helping people, especially so many people, since I’ve made so many. It’s been really nice that I can just help out people in any way during the pandemic,” she said.




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