Lauren Janssen is Filling a Void

Becca Jensen, left, and Lauren Janssen display some of the many face masks that have been sewn in the past few weeks in Janssen’s rural Herscher home. Governor Pritzker has announced that, beginning May 1, all Illinois residents will be required to wear masks in public places where social distancing is not possible.

Submitted photo

The recent COVID-19 pandemic created a situation in which medical mask supplies were quickly depleted.

 As a result, private citizens began to use their skills and talents to create masks for hospital workers and others who desired additional protection against the virus.

Lauren Janssen, of rural Herscher, is someone who is using her talent and experience to help fill the void created by the shortage of masks. 

During a typical spring and summer, Lauren can be seen selling concessions at area fairs and festivals. 

However, 2020 has been a different story.  Due to the pandemic, there have already been cancellations and doubt about summer  events taking place at all, thereby limiting concession business. 

Lauren states, “Making masks to sell all started because I have a business called Lauren’s PETkerchiefs. I make dog bandannas. I have a clientele from that. I kept getting mask requests from customers.” 

She continues, “I love to sew. It is fun and I am making masks because it keeps me from going crazy in the off season. This is temporary to fill the need.”

Lauren gives credit to her grandmother for teaching her to sew as a child. 

“My grandma had been making the elastic masks. But, because people were getting sore ears, hospitals were requesting bandanas that tie around the head.”  

Lauren has learned to make masks with ties.  However, they take much more time to make than the elastic ones. She has donated several of the masks to hospital personnel.  

 Each face mask takes over an hour to make, and she has received so many orders, that she has asked Becca Jensen, her cousin’s girlfriend, for help. Lauren hasn’t even had time to make her own mask yet.

In order for Lauren to work more efficiently, her husband, Brian, has created templates for creating and ironing fabric pieces.  

The masks are reversible, washable, and can be worn by 3 year-olds and older. The cost is $15 each and customers may choose from a variety of fabrics ranging from sports teams to cheetah prints. There are pick up points available thoughout the County West area. 

You may contact her at laurenconway5@yahoo.com for more information.