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SAN DIEGO — Claudia Rodriguez-Biezunski has been busy sewing masks day and night since Friday. She said she couldn’t just sit still in her fear and anxiety.

To date, Rodriguez-Biezunski has made more than 600 masks in her Barrio Logan sewing shop, Sew Loka, and she’s doing it for free. “Being a small business, we’ve had community support. So it’s only natural for us to step up and do the exact same for them, especially in this time of need where people need some reassurance or peace of mind,” she said.

Rodriguez-Biezunski knows her masks are not medical grade and will not be used by hospitals, doctors or nurses on the front lines of the coronoavirus pandemic. But they can be used by others in need of protection, including the Alpha Project Bridge Shelter, which works directly with the homeless. She said she’s received requests from grocery stores, as well.

“I feel like this is definitely one of those times where you see the good and the bad in people, and I definitely wanted to help and give back,” Rodriguez-Biezunski said. And she’s not alone —
on Facebook, several new sewing pages have launched locally. The largest group, Project Masks : Southern California COVID-19 Mask Making, has attracted more than 400 members since Tuesday.

“It’s not just me,” Rodriguez-Biezunski said. “There are a lot of seamstresses. It’s beautiful to see them in their own neighborhood and sharing resources. I think that’s the most beautiful thing we can do.”