‘Masks with a Mission’ Campaign Mobilizes Mechanicsburg Senior Living Community

April 16, 2020 | Mechanicsburg, PA – When Governor Wolf’s recommendation for all Pennsylvanians to wear a mask when leaving their homes was released, it didn’t take the Messiah Lifeways at Messiah Village senior living community by surprise. By then, members of the Messiah Village Quilt Guild and other volunteer mask-makers had already been sewing for days and had provided enough cloth masks for all non-clinical Messiah Lifeways team members to wear while at work*. 

So once the Governor made his recommendation, dozens of volunteers responded to a new goal – to provide a cloth mask to approximately 530 Residential Living and Personal Care residents at Messiah Village in Mechanicsburg and another 112 to residents at Messiah Lifeways at Mount Joy Country Homes in Mount Joy, PA. In just a week, that goal has been exceeded.

Carolyn Rutherford, who resides in Messiah Village’s newest independent living apartment building, Village Square, has personally made more than 100 masks to date…and she won’t stop sewing until supplies run out. 

“My parents and my late husband, Jere, were wonderful examples for me — they always stressed the importance of serving the community,” Rutherford explained. “I have large shoes to fill, and I enjoy every moment I can serve! I know my fellow mask-makers feel the same way. We want to do all we can to help keep residents and team members safe during this difficult time. And we hope we can distribute some masks to members of the local community if supplies allow.”

Mary Ruth Campbell is a neighbor of Carolyn’s. Her husband, David, lives in a skilled nursing neighborhood at Messiah Village. “Making masks has kept me busy and productive during a time that could have otherwise been filled with worry and concern,” Campbell says. “It has given me a mission to focus on. Right now, I can’t visit David every day like I normally would, so I am using my time to help our community.”

More than 700 masks have been given to the “Masks with a Mission” campaign and the number is rising every day. Masks have also been lovingly donated by members of Epiphany Lutheran Church in Harrisburg and Dillsburg Brethren in Christ Church in Dillsburg. Fabric, thread, and elastic were donated by dozens of individuals as well as by Benjamin Roberts Office Interiors. 

The volunteer mask-makers hope to continue donating additional masks to other organizations, such as Paxton Ministries in Harrisburg, as needed. When it comes to mask-making, one thing is very clear – it takes a Village!

*Messiah Lifeways team members in clinical or direct care roles are provided with procedure masks and appropriate PPE. For information about how Messiah Lifeways is responding to COVID-19, please visit MessiahLifeways.org/blog/coronavirus.

About Messiah Lifeways®: Founded in 1896, Messiah Lifeways is a non-profit organization dedicated to serving older adults throughout South Central Pennsylvania. Messiah Lifeways offers resident communities, long-term nursing and personal care, life coaching, enrichment opportunities, home care, and other community support services to support as many people as possible through the journey of aging. For more information, visit MessiahLifeways.org. 


Media Contact:   Katie Andreano | 973.865.1742 (cell) | kandreano@messiahlifeways.org

Kelly Herbster