After seeing a rising need for food donations during the COVID-19 pandemic, a woman in Palouse decided to use her skills to help her community’s local food pantry.

Ardis Wraspir, a produce manager at Palouse Family Foods, has sewn and sold more than 100 masks in the past week to raise money for the Palouse Food Pantry.

“It’s become a second full-time job,” she said.

Wraspir said she was inspired after watching the news and hearing about the number of people unemployed during the COVID-19 pandemic. She realized there was going to be a need to feed people and wanted to contribute any way she could.

The experienced quilter looked at her fabric and supplies and “decided it was time to get busy,” she said.

Wraspir said she researched online the most recommended patterns for protective facemasks before getting started. She said it takes about 20 minutes to make a mask and she works on them during her spare time.

She sells the masks at the front of Palouse Family Foods, next to a coffee can in which people can donate money.

So far, she has sold 109 masks and raised $573.

“I’m just amazed at how generous people are,” Wraspir said.

Charlotte Snekvik, coordinator for the Palouse Food Pantry, said the money Wraspir has raised will go directly to purchasing food.

“I think she’s doing a fantastic thing for the community,” Snekvik said.

She said the pantry distributes food once a month, with the next distribution scheduled for Wednesday. She said Palouse usually has a large need for food donations, but she won’t know how large the effect of COVID-19 is until next week. But last month, she noticed several new people received food from the organization.

“Our goal is to make sure no one in our community goes hungry,” Snekvik said.

Wraspir is accepting donations of elastic because she is running low. She also would accept help from other sewers, too.

If she is able, she plans to continue making masks as long as there is a need.

“I’m just lucky that I’m able to do something,” Wraspir said.

Anthony Kuipers can be reached at

Recommended for you