Lenoir City girl making a difference

Marrett Beckler, 10, makes a face mask.

One Lenoir City 10-year-old is putting her talent to good use as she makes face masks for those with a need.

Marrett Beckler, a fifth-grader at Hardin Valley Elementary School, started making masks April 26 after her mother asked for one. Her mom, Jennifer Beckler, is a teacher at Hardin Valley Academy.

“My mom was going to do, like, you know how the schools are doing pickup food? She had to go to one of those to drop off food and she’s like, ‘Hey Marrett, I need a mask. Can you make me one?’” Marrett said. “So I went on YouTube and I just searched, ‘Masks,’ ‘How to make a mask,’ and I watched something from Missouri Star Quilt Company, and I watched that video for my first two masks that I made, then I made it on my own. Then she made a Facebook post about it and that’s when all the things started rolling in and that’s when all the orders started coming in, and then my mom, lovely mother, made another Facebook post and I got even more orders.”

In a matter of weeks Marrett has made 191 masks. She has two lists on her bedroom closet door to keep tally of her progress.

“It definitely blew up,” Jennifer said. “When I put the first Facebook post it was just that I was proud that she did this all on her own with no help. Then as the orders started coming in she really didn’t need a lot of motivation but there were definitely some days when it’s been really pretty and others are outside. It’s been a very good learning lesson for her about a business model. When you have people that are placing orders and expecting those orders, there’s a turnaround. Her dad and I could not be more proud of her and definitely not imagined that there would have been this many ordered, kids and adults, and she makes them all to order.

“So when we started we had like 10 different fabrics that they could choose from,” she added. “I mean I’ve helped her, I do a lot of the organization part and I’ve been cutting a lot of the fabric for her, but she does all the sewing. I’d say each mask takes her probably about 10 minutes if she’s focused and not distracted.”

Masks have largely gone to friends and family locally and in New York and Florida, Jennifer said.

“I got an order of 25 for my mom’s gym,” Marrett said. “Well, it was originally 50. So this is a Friday, I needed them by Monday and I’m like, ‘I don’t think I can do 50.’ ‘So 35 maybe? 25?’ I said, ‘OK.’ Then my dad was getting all excited. He kept telling me over and over, ‘You’re going to be so happy when you finish that last mask.’ I’m like, ‘You’ve told me that 25 times’.”

The experience has been enjoyable for Marrett, especially because she was able to give masks to her fifth-grader teachers.

Jennifer said her daughter recently donated $150 she received from making masks to East Tennessee Children’s Hospital.

Sewing has been a hobby for a few years and Marrett remembers getting her first machine in December 2017. She credits her grandmother for the hobby.

“She’s taken some lessons but really as far as the masks go, she literally watched — I went to the grocery store and came home and she gave me a mask,” Jennifer said. “... I mean she’s 10 years old. When I think about what I was doing at 10, you know, climbing trees and kicking the soccer ball. I think it really is helping now that most places are asking for cloth masks. She’s really making a difference, and I know that was important to her and it’s important to us.”

“I’ve made two dresses and some pajama pants, and right now I am making two of my baby cousins’ blankets,” Marrett added. “... I guess I just like making things. I like being crafty. I like planting things, like I’m planning on making a succulent garden, and I guess, I don’t know, I just one day thought it’d be really cool because this one has a whole bunch of different stitches on it. Like there’s a dolphin. I used a dolphin one time and it was really cool.”

For more information about the masks, email jennifer.beckler@gmail.com.

Marrett said she has at least a few more masks to make and may slow down. She recommended only small orders.