Who is that masked lady?

Trude Trudell is known in her neighborhood as “the mask lady.”

She didn’t intend to make hundreds of masks when she first stitched one for herself. But she had extra fabric and many fellow seniors in her neighborhood who suddenly needed the protection from coronavirus. “I was just giving them away,” she says. When her son, who serves in the military, called her for one, she made 50 and shipped them off for him to share with his colleagues. Word spread and people just started showing up at her door in need of a mask.

Trude learned about Commission 127 from her daughter, Briana Read who is a C127 Advocate at Summit Church in Orlando. After hearing about the immediate needs of foster families and foster children during this pandemic, Trude decided to start asking for a donation for the masks she’s making. She’s giving all the donations to Commission 127.

“We’ve probably raised over $500,” Trude says. “I’m just doing it to help others and I thought this was a great organization to support. I’m a retired teacher, also, so I’ve been around kids and know the needs with foster kids and kids in general. My heart led in that direction that this is where I could donate.”

When she tells people where their donation is going, many end up giving more because they want to help C127. “They always have a nice big smile when I tell them,” she says. Her friends, family, and neighbors also give her their left-over fabric to help with the cost.

At first, it was just Trude’s project, but it’s now a team effort with her husband, Jeff — they both are retired and have the time to give. “He’s my assembly line,” Trude says, laughing. “He snips thread and strings the beads and helps me process it pretty fast … We’ve become a team so we can crank them out faster.”

Trude says right when she thinks she can get ahead and keep a stockpile, she gets another call requesting more masks. She says she’ll keep making them until there’s not a need.

“So many people were making them for healthcare workers,” she says. “I think God just had it in my heart: let’s just do this.”