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Look For The Helpers

Gilbert Interior Designer turned her quarantine time into a mission of kindness

Misty McFadden is an entrepreneur at heart. She has always dreamed of working for herself. She always wanted to be a fashion designer or interior designer as long as she can remember. 

Those dreams were put on hold after having two children during what should have been her college days. After they went into elementary school,  Misty decided to pursue that dream of interior design and went back to school. Who knew it would have taken off as fast as it did. She has had some amazing clients, most of who live in Gilbert.

 When this pandemic started Misty’s oldest son warned her to wear a mask, as she traveled for work. Being the fashionista that she is, she didn't love the idea of an ugly surgical mask donning her face. She also felt like it was a slap in the face to the health care workers who truly were the ones who needed this type of PPE. 

After talking to a really good friend about an idea she had regarding a training product to help kids to cough and sneeze correctly, protecting others from their germs. Her mind began to think about masks that did the same thing but for adults. Then she saw another friend from a different state, who is immune-compromised post a tutorial on how to make masks. 

Misty immediately went to work creating. She learned how to sew as a child. My mom sewed every last curtain in the house she grew up in "Dororthy's Ruffles circa 1980". Her grandma was a seamstress at Pomeroy's in Mesa and did upholstery as well. 

She grew up around sewing machines. Misty even took Home Economics at Taylor Junior High with Ms. Weber, the "Wicked Witch of the West" as she was known. She wouldn't even let you eat a french fry without a fork she was that proper! 

Misty sailed through sewing and made a lot more advanced clothing items. A-line skirts to wear in High School and fashioned her own clothes She was like the real-life Andie Walsh from Pretty in Pink, making her own creations. When the Gilbert Temple had their grand celebration she probably sewed 1000's of flags for those kids stomping in the rain that day! 

She knew she had the skills to make masks for health care workers, friends, and family so that is what she did. She also saw this as a great time to teach her children about being a helper in times of need, putting your skills to good use for the good, home economics, and entrepreneurship. 

"Look for the helpers," Mr. Rogers said that when he was a boy and would see scary things in the news his mother would say that to him. you will always find people who are helping.

 Misty wanted to teach her kids the same lesson. She didn't want this to be something that was capitalizing on a very terrible thing, but knew it could possibly supplement her income since a lot of her interior design jobs were put on hold.

 She felt it was only the right thing to do was to donate one mask for every mask purchased and in addition to offer one free mask for any health care worker (up to 25 per week) on her website. She was surprised at the outpouring of people who supported her in this endeavor. Donations, masks purchases, volunteers sewing and cutting, supply donations.

 She ensures that all the donated fabrics and items that any volunteers help with are set aside for the donations. This is working on the honor system. Her interior design business Honor Thy Home applies these masks as well. Honor Thy Health Care Workers! 

Misty and her daughter, who is also a health care worker, are the only ones that make the masks that go out into the market and are sold. She keeps track of every single order on a spreadsheet and ensures that they have masks that will go out to donation, to make good on the one for one promise. 

She has always believed that what goes around comes around! She has personally talked to many nurses who have cried to her about the shortage of PPE. These masks may not be the best way to protect against any super virus including COVID-19, but they sure are better than nothing. These health care workers are grateful for what they can get and for any helpers in the community. These masks, It's theirs, they can sanitize it and wear it again and again. 

Misty says her family has been blessed by so many during this difficult time. When she ran out of elastic, more showed up, when she ran out of money, more showed up, when she ran out of fabric, more showed up. She feels like she can show up and feel useful in times things feel so out of control. She can keep her hands busy and her mind occupied knowing that she was able to, more than anything, provide peace of mind to someone who puts these masks on their beautiful face. 

To date, she has made over 600+ masks and at least 300+ have been, or are in the works to be donated this coming week. She said she couldn't have done this alone, there are good people out there working with her on this--either by cutting patterns, tying knots in the elastic, sewing the easy parts, donating a sewing machine, buying elastic, fabric and thread for us, and the generous monetary donations that she has received that has been vital in getting these 300 masks out there. She is optimistically hoping to make thousands more masks in the coming weeks but supplies are getting scarce.  She hopes even more that this national crisis will subside soon and the need for homemade masks ends. 

Misty says “There are a lot of people making masks for others and this makes my heart happy! we are not the only ones doing this!” She continues “Unfortunately, there will always be those that are in this purely for profit, those that think what we are doing is a waste of time and energy, and those that will take advantage of the kindness of others.” Yet, she has seen more kindness, more giving, and more goodness during this time. She hopes that after this is over we can all remember The Helpers.

To find adult and children's face masks for your family or to donate to misty's project go to