Bethlehem Sewing Group mask sales feed the hungry

The Bethlehem Sewing Group (Left to Right: Stephany Small, Janice Mangimelli, and Lisa Loeffler) started as an effort to provide masks to front-line healthcare workers. (photo submitted)

When Janice Mangimelli started an effort at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Clarkesville to meet the need for N95 masks for one hospital in Athens, she never expected the ministry to grow to create almost 2,500 masks and raise funds to feed the hungry. 

When the number of volunteers and donors for a once small operation began to grow, Mangimelli saw an opportunity. She partnered with The Lord’s Help Soup Kitchen, a Cornelia-based nonprofit organization that has a constant need for funds to provide meals to the hungry, through Shane and Stephany Small. The Smalls, members of The Billy Boyd Life Group at Bethlehem Baptist Church, have led Life Group members to participate in the soup kitchen ministry for almost two years.

In dreaming of what could be, Mangimelli approached Lisa Loeffler, owner and proprietor of Pure & Simple Soap in Cornelia, to ask if she’d be willing to sell masks to raise money for the soup kitchen. Loeffler agreed– with one condition. She wouldn’t keep any of the proceeds from the mask sales. To date, over 300 masks have been sold, raising almost $1,500. 

While the volunteers, known as the Bethlehem Sewing Group, continue to supply medical staff with masks, they’re also keeping the inventory stocked at Pure & Simple Soap. Masks are available in various sizes and patterns for $5.00 each. All proceeds support The Lord’s Help Soup Kitchen.

The Lord’s Help Soup Kitchen is on a shortened schedule at this time, serving to-go meals only. Due to many of their volunteers being high risk for COVID-19, the soup kitchen needs additional volunteers. For more information about the work of the soup kitchen, or to volunteer or donate, visit their website here.

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