When the coronavirus pandemic hit the U.S. in March, Angela Martin of Shippensburg wanted to help the relief efforts in some way.
Martin, the founder of Amenity Wraps -- herbal wraps that help with both hot and cold therapy -- has been sewing since she was a girl and decided to put the therapy side of her business under wraps for a few months to focus on the community’s need for cloth masks.
Martin explained no one was able to order face masks at the beginning of the pandemic due to the shortage of supplies. Prior to that, she was giving away relaxing lavender eye pillows to healthcare workers to give them some relief after working long hours on the front lines.
“I didn’t think I was doing enough to help, so I thought, ‘What else can I do?’ So, I thought I could make masks for healthcare workers because I had the fabric and a full-time seamstress. So, we made a pattern to make 100 percent cotton masks,” Martin noted. “However, a healthcare worker told me they couldn’t use the masks, but asked if I could make the headbands with buttons because the masks were irritating their ears. I was disappointed because I wanted to make masks, too. I gave some to The Butcher Shoppe in Chambersburg because they sell my items there. After that, the demand for masks was out of control! They needed a few hundred a day at the Butcher Shoppe. Within a week, the store was getting rid of 300 a day. I had a group of 12 local Mennonite women who are incredibly gifted at sewing help me meet the demand.”
Martin said during the busiest weeks, the women sewed 5,000 masks.
“A friend of mine in Los Angeles has a nonprofit organization called Khana Panties that provides panties for girls in other countries. She also wanted to help with the relief efforts and was in touch with someone who could have medical-grade masks manufactured for healthcare workers across the country. She started a GoFundMe for the campaign, and her goal was to raise $15,000 to donate for the masks. I had extra money from the masks, and I thought, ‘What can I do with these extra dollars to give back?’ I gave a large portion of the money from the masks to her company so that the money went back into healthcare. I am so blessed right now, and it was so much fun to give back! It was a win-win because the handmade masks helped those in need of masks in the community, and in return, I was able to give that money to a company to help with healthcare. My friend is also using her skills to give back at this time, and we were able to work together. I didn’t know what I was doing, but things fell into place.”
Martin said she is still sewing masks, but the demand has slowed down. She has masks in both adult and children’s sizes at The Butcher Shoppe in Chambersburg, Chestnut Grove Greenhouse and Shetron’s Tire Service in Shippensburg, and Clair’s Orchard in Carlisle. She also sells the masks online. “I had people ordering them from California and Idaho,” she added.
Martin grew up on a farm in Chambersburg, and moved to Shippensburg when she married her husband, Adrian. She started making Amenity Wraps in 2015, a few years after she fell 20 feet off of a barn roof and broke six bones in her back, and had a lot of neck and shoulder issues. Martin said it was a miracle that she wasn’t paralyzed in the fall.
“I have always had a drive to become successful,” she said. “It became helpful in pushing me to start my own business. I love leadership, and problem solving. I thrive on connecting with people. I found a lot of physical pain relief in herbal-filled wraps for heat therapy. I thought, ‘This is changing my life, I am going to start making them for other people and selling them.’ I have a story behind my product and I know there are a lot of people out there looking for pain relief and therapeutic ways to deal with things.”
Martin said she knows she has a purpose in life because she has had close calls with death.
“I had a lot of self-hate prior to my accident,” she noted. “I kept asking, ‘Why am I still here?’ But, God is saying you are here for a reason; God is using you for a purpose. God has been so good to me, and I have been able to give back through some of the hard things I have endured. I want to thank everyone who helped through this. The women who helped me sew, I am so thankful for their talent and helping me to make the masks. More than anything, I am honored that people in the community were so appreciative. I guess I underestimated the value of a face mask! I felt terrible for selling masks during a pandemic. That’s also why I wanted to give back. But, everyone has been thanking me for making them, and I am just so appreciative of them all!”
Martin is still making masks and her Amenity Wraps. Her products may be viewed and purchased on her website at: