When her young grandkids said they were worried about the scout elves from “Elf on the Shelf” getting COVID-19 this Christmas, Maria Harvey tried to ease their fears.
The 72-year-old seamstress from Kingston, who has made thousands of cloth masks since the pandemic started, rushed to her sewing machine to begin her next project — making masks tiny enough to fit elves.
“They can’t quarantine because they only have a short time here,” Harvey said of the elves from the popular children’s book.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention hasn’t specifically mentioned elves in its mask guidance, but Harvey wants to make sure they’re taking the safety precautions seriously when they begin arriving in homes each night between Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve to keep an eye on things and report back to Santa.
Harvey has made about 30 masks so far and is ready for further demand.
“If I can put a smile on a child’s face, it’s worth every minute,” she said.
The elf masks sell for $2 each. Add another buck for shipping.
Harvey’s months of mask-making haven’t been about the money.
Proceeds from the regular masks, which she has sold for $5, have have been used to buy food for a pantry that helps students at Sanborn Regional High School in Kingston.
“I don’t need the money,” she said.
Harvey also has made small masks to fit American Girl dolls, with matching masks for each child. The set is $5.
She estimates she’s made at least 3,000 masks for adults and children so far.
When she began her mass mask production, Harvey said she donated some money to buy art supplies that the school needed and then used money to help provide meals that were sent home to students during the pandemic.
The focus now is on keeping the pantry shelves stocked.
“It makes me feel good. It gives me a purpose,” she said.
Anyone interested in purchasing masks may text Harvey at 603-944-0882.