Zoey Filegar

Nine-year-old Zoey Filegar of Cambridge Springs wears one of the face masks she made at home. Filegar has donated the masks to medical facilities and nursing homes.

At a time when many young kids are likely more concerned about how not to be bored while stuck at home, one local 9-year-old has taken it upon herself to sew home-made masks for those in need.

Zoey Filegar, a fourth-grader at Cambridge Springs Elementary School, has made, in the estimation of her mother Cassandra Miller, around 150 masks that she’s mostly donated toward nursing homes and medical facilities, such as the Crawford County Care Center, Edinboro Manor and AristaCare. Besides those, she’s also made some for people at her mother’s workplace and donated to regular people in need.

Filegar has typically made cards and other festive items for local nursing homes around the holidays, such as when she made angel ornaments for the Crawford County Care Center this past Christmas. Since the virus has made her unable to do that, Filegar said she switched over to making masks. However, she is not alone in her efforts.

“My grandma is teaching me how and helping me when I need it,” Filegar said.

Filegar uses fabric bought from stores to make the masks, as well as elastic ordered through the mail. While she’s a practiced hand at making the coverings, Filegar is still learning how to get better at mask-making.

“It takes a pretty long time,” she said. “The longest part is cutting them.”

Despite the difficulties, the sewing is providing a much-needed reprieve for Filegar. She described being stuck in the home most of the day because of the stay-at-home order as “horrible,” especially since an upcoming dance recital she was going to take part in got cancelled.

While Filegar is donating the masks, a few of the people she’s given them to have given her money in return. In these cases, the money is going toward a good cause.

According to Miller, all money given as thanks for the masks is being used for Filegar’s National Extraordinary Miss platform. A frequent participant in pageants, Filegar’s platform supports babies born with gastroschisis, a birth defect which requires surgery to fix. Filegar helps buys sleeper wear for these babies in order to help them during the early stages of their life.

Miller expressed pride in her daughter for all of the good work she is doing.

“I feel really good about it,” she said. “She’s been doing community service since she was 5, so it’s not really surprising to me that she came up with something to try and help the community.”

These sentiments were shared by Diana Ferris, one of Filegar’s teachers at Cambridge Springs Elementary School. Ferris described Filegar as polite and caring, and said she does well academically.

“Everyday she has a smile on her face,” Ferris said. “She always tells me at the end of the day to have a good day.”

Sean P. Ray can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at sray@meadvilletribune.com.

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