Jewish family converts hundreds of yarmulkes into face masks for the homeless

People experiencing homelessness are among the most vulnerable during the COVID-19 pandemic. Surviving often depends on being in densely populated areas where they can panhandle or use public facilities such as restrooms. These days, people aren't out in public and many businesses with restrooms are closed.

Shelters have become breeding grounds for the virus so many unhoused people have been avoiding them to prevent themselves from getting sick.

The unhoused population also disproportionately suffers from lung disease, heart disease, hypertension, and cancer. These are all risk factors for experiencing the deadly symptoms of COVID-19.


Matthew and Jeremy Jason of Houston, Texas found an ingenious way to help the unhoused stay safe during the crisis. They are collecting yarmulkes, or kippahs as they're known in Hebrew, and turning them into face masks and giving them to people experiencing homelessness.

They call their campaign "Kippahs to the Rescue."

The idea came to Matthew during a religious observance.

Kippahs to the Rescue - Jeremy www.youtube.com


"We were sitting down for Shabbat, thinking about COVID-19, and thought this would be a great way to help out," Matthew told the JHV. "We knew there was a mask shortage, so we started our own production, tried making a couple, and then really launched into it."

The Jason family had a large collection of yarmulkes they had received over the years. They are commonly handed out at Jewish events such as weddings and Bar Mitzvahs. The family then asked members of their congregation, Congregation Brith Shalom, to chip in and donate theirs as well.

A drive-thru collection box was set up at the temple for congregants to drop off their extra yarmulkes.

"I guess you can say we've stockpiled kippahs over the years," said Matthew, 15, said. "We thought it would be a great time to be really productive with all of these. It's been a real family effort."

To convert the yarmulkes into face masks, the family first started sewing elastic bands on the sides. But they switched to using clips because it's faster and the masks are just as strong. It takes about five minutes to make each mask.

"In less than a week we were able to collect enough of them to make 160 face masks," said Matthew. "My parents, brothers and I worked very hard to sew elastic bands on them, and they were ready to be delivered by Friday."

via Kippahs to the Rescue

Matthew and Jeremy had already been part of an organization that helps the local homeless population, Food Not Bombs, so it was easy for them to get the face masks to the people who need them.

According to its website, "Food Not Bombs is an all-volunteer movement that recovers food that would otherwise be discarded, and shares free vegan and vegetarian meals with the hungry in over 1,000 cities in 65 countries in protest to war, poverty, and destruction of the environment."

The Jason family has collected nearly 700 yarmulkes and turned over 300 into face masks.

Everyone has a special skill, talent, or, in the Jason family's case, collection, they can use to help the most vulnerable during the pandemic. The Jason family is a great example of people using their creativity and connections to find a unique way to help.

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Often, parents of children with special needs struggle to find Halloween costumes that will accommodate medical equipment or provide a proper fit. And figuring out how to make one? Yikes.

There's good news; shopDisney has added new ensembles to their already impressive line of adaptive play costumes. And from 8/30 - 9/26, there's a 20% off sale for all costume and costume accessory orders of $75+ with code Spooky.

When looking for the right costume, kids with unique needs have a lot of extra factors to consider: wheelchair wheels get tangled up in too-long material, feeding tubes could get twisted the wrong way, and children with sensory processing disorders struggle with the wrong kind of fabric, seams, or tags. There are a lot of different obstacles that can come between a kid and the ability to wear the costume of their choice, which is why it's so awesome that more and more companies are recognizing the need for inclusive creations that make it easy for everyone to enjoy the magic of make-believe.

Created with inclusivity in mind, the adaptive line is designed to discreetly accommodate tubes or wires from the front or the back, with lots of stretch, extra length and roomier cut, and self-stick fabric closures to make getting dressed hassle-free. The online shop provides details on sizing and breaks down the magical elements of each outfit and accessory, taking the guesswork out of selecting the perfect costume for the whole family.

Your child will be able to defeat Emperor Zurg in comfort with the Buzz Lightyear costume featuring a discreet flap opening at the front for easy tube access, with self-stick fabric closure. There is also an opening at the rear for wheelchair-friendly wear, and longer-length inseams to accommodate seated guests. To infinity and beyond!

An added bonus: many of the costumes offer a coordinating wheelchair cover set to add a major boost of fun. Kids can give their ride a total makeover—all covers are made to fit standard size chairs with 24" wheels—to transform it into anything from The Mandalorian's Razor Crest ship to Cinderella's Coach. Some options even come equipped with sounds and lights!

From babies to adults and adaptive to the group, shopDisney's expansive variety of Halloween costumes and accessories are inclusive of all.

Don't forget about your furry companions! Everyone loves to see a costumed pet trotting around, regardless of the occasion. You can literally dress your four-legged friend to look like Sven from Frozen, which might not sound like something you need in your life but...you totally do. CUTENESS OVERLOAD.

This year has been tough for everyone, so when a child gets that look of unfettered joy that comes from finally getting to wear the costume of their dreams, it's extra rewarding. Don't wait until the last minute to start looking for the right ensemble!


*Upworthy may earn a portion of sales revenue from purchases made through affiliate links on our site.

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This article originally appeared on 03.19.15


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