For many, this past year has been a reminder that Carpinteria has a deeply rooted culture of caring. In week five of her 10-week series, photographer Ingrid Bostrom captures portraits of some of Carpinteria’s most compassionate citizens.
Pat Beals and Lynn Menicucci were nominated by Jennifer Mackie, Carol Tokar and more. On the brink of Covid-19 outbreaks in February 2020, Pat Beals began making masks for her friends and family. Within weeks, there was a frantic demand for masks for essential workers, vulnerable groups and the general public. Without hesitation, Beals responded by organizing volunteers in Carpinteria to rapidly produce as many masks as possible. Her goal was to offer a free face covering to every adult in Carpinteria.
Beals’ neighbor and good friend, Lynn Menicucci, witnessed how overloaded she was and joined the operation as the delegated mask distributor. Word was out about their masks and Lynn handled the time-consuming work of responding to calls and emails, along with mask delivery.
“Volunteers from all over our little town came out of the woodwork with generous hearts and a fighting spirit, ala Rosie the Riveter. Often the seamstresses, upon joining us, would express their feelings that they were so relieved to actually find a way they could fight back against this deadly pandemic,” Beals said.
With time, there were over 70 volunteers and thousands of masks were distributed for free. The project was named “Neighbor to Neighbor” and truly provided for the entire town and beyond – from essential workers, to elderly care homes, to shipping masks to Mexico.
Beals, a retired costume designer and producer, ran Neighbor to Neighbor like the business woman she is. She consulted with Cottage Infection Control multiple times for a review and safety critique of the masks. The mask designs evolved with these consultations, as information about the virus’ transmission became more clearly defined.
Their work has been tireless and costly, yet they both describe a sense of purpose and gratification from their efforts. The pair wish to acknowledge the many volunteers involved, including a 103-year-old friend who ironed each mask with care.
When I met Beals and Menicucci, I was gifted an assortment of colorful masks that fit perfectly and reminded me that loving and selfless hands created them.