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August 7, 2020
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Photo 1: The Nest's comfortable masks come in handy sizes for children

Photo 2: Handmade masks from The Nest come in a variety of sizes and designs

Photo 1: The Nest's comfortable masks come in handy sizes for children Photo 2: Handmade masks from The Nest come in a variety of sizes and designs (Jane Moen )

DEEP RIVER COFFEE HOUSE PRODUCES PROTECTIVE MASKS IN ALL SIZES, FOR ALL AGES

Published May 18, 2020

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For immediate release: Contact: Jane Moen, jane@alittlecompassion.org (860) 227-9083 DEEP RIVER COFFEE HOUSE PRODUCES PROTECTIVE MASKS IN ALL SIZES, FOR ALL AGES Versatility is key for small businesses in these difficult times, and the non-profit Nest Coffee House in Deep River has expanded its community service into the production of handmade face masks during the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Nest, which marks its first anniversary in June, provides employment and social opportunities for young adults with autism, intellectual, and developmental disabilities. In recent weeks, Nest staff and supporters have been busily engaged in producing face masks in all sizes from toddlers (age 2-4), child 5+, to average adult and L/XL. The all-cotton, washable masks, available at: https://thenestcoffeehouse.org/, come in a range of colors and designs and have soft elastic bands, making them easy to wear, said Jane Moen, executive director of A Little Compassion, Inc. the non-profit that operates The Nest. Depending on the size, the masks sell for $10 to $15, but are free to Connecticut residents in financial need. “We want everyone to be safe and have the opportunity to wear a comfortable, protective face mask,” Moen said. “Our masks are soft, well-fitting and sensory friendly with a range of fun patterns, so they’re particularly useful for young children and children with special needs,” she added. It's understandable that children may be wary of cloth face coverings at first, said Moen, who offers a few tips for parents to help make mask-wearing less scary: • Look in the mirror with the face coverings on and talk about it. • Put a cloth face covering on a favorite stuffed animal. • Decorate them so they're more personalized and fun. • Show your child pictures of other children wearing them. • Draw one on their favorite book character. • Practice wearing the face mask at home to help your child get used to it. “One of the biggest challenges with having children wear cloth face masks relates to them ‘feeling different’ or stereotyping them as being sick,” Moen said. “ As more people wear these cloth face masks, children will get used to them and not feel singled out or strange about wearing them.” While the coffee house continues to sell coffee, gifts and other items through its online store:, the mask-making business has provided work for Nest employees while it waits to reopen its doors. During the last couple of weeks, masks have been shipped to Hawaii, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Maryland and Minnesota. The Nest is also producing them for other non-profits, partnering with Fairfield-based Woofgang & Co., which also provides employment for people with disabilities and sells dog treats and novelty items. “We made masks for all their employees – appropriately in dog-print fabric,” Moen said. “We donated them for free as we feel it’s important to support another non-profit whose mission of empowerment mirrors ours at The Nest.”

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