A furloughed theme park seamstress is using her sewing skills to get results for people across the country.
Jennifer Lynn Brown has worked for Disney, Universal Studios and most recently Cirque Du Soleil. When she was furloughed in March it came as a shock.
“I’m here in my house, unemployed, something I’ve never been before. I’ve always been in demand so it’s a little strange,” she said.
Brown’s credentials include costumes for attractions such as the Pirates of the Caribbean, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, It’s a Small World and The Carousel of Progress.
Now you can add the global pandemic to that list.
Brown has made more than 4,000 face coverings since being laid off. She’s sent them to hospitals, long term care facilities and low income communities around the country. She’s done it all using her own money.
“All my life I’ve made costumes and brought magic and joy to children,” Brown said while taking a short break from behind the sewing machine at her dinning room table. She calls the location, next to a bright window, the heart of her home.
“We have this pandemic and there’s no joy, there’s no magic. It’s a dark time and this is what I can do.”
Brown was nominated for the News 6 Getting Results Award by friend, Justin Ellis.
“Jennifer has been working tirelessly to design, sew, and distribute thousands of masks to anyone in need,” Ellis said by email. “Her entire life spent as a seamstress for major productions was pulled out from beneath her during this time we are in.”
Brown said the project has allowed her to maintain a bit of normalcy. She gets up every day just as she would if she were going to work and she puts in a full day at her machine.
“When people ask what keeps you going, I say hope,” Brown said. “Hope for something better. Hope for a day when we don’t have a virus.”
Brown says she can produce between 100 and 200 masks a day using factory assembly line techniques.
“I’ve got almost 20 years of training so I work really fast,” Brown said with a laugh. “Professional seamstresses are trained factory style. We do large numbers quickly.”
Brown feeds a string of partially completed masks into her sewing machine, it hums in short bursts of energy. She’s surrounded by fabric, thread and a stack of receipts for shipping.
“Every time we go to the post office we try to have at least two to four hundred masks in each shipment,” Brown said.
She’s even used her federal coronavirus stimulus check to cover the postage.
“It’s just what I do, I couldn’t imagine life without sewing,” Brown said. “With every mask I’m like, please let this save one person.”
If you would like to help, Brown’s friends have set up a Gofundme account to help her pay for supplies and shipping.