COLORADO SPRINGS — Volunteer efforts around the holidays look much different this year because of COVID-19. However, one local volunteer for Children's Hospital Colorado is adapting and still finding a way to give back to children in the community.
Lisa Parker got creative during her retirement to still put a smile on children's faces. She came up with the idea to teach herself how to make face masks. Thanks to the help of the internet tutorials and a new sewing machine, she has sewn nearly 200 masks for children and their families.
"Masks are a simple gift to give and I have that gift to give to anybody that wants one," said Parker.
Parker has been volunteering her time since the hospital opened last year. She used to volunteer in person, by having playtime with the kids, greeting families, or helping with fundraiser events, until the pandemic hit. Although things are different this year, she still wanted to give back.
"It's rewarding, just being there and being able to bring a smile to a child's face, just to get their minds off why they're really there," said Parker.
Many of the masks Parker made are colorful, Disney themed, animal-print themed, or Dr. Suess-themed to help brighten a kid's day.
"Something bright always makes you smile and I know kids, I have grand kids of my own, and they love to see things that make them smile," said Parker.
Parker also made about 60 scrub cabs for hospital staff, and even made arts and crafts at home to give to children staying in the hospital.
"They hang (paper) snowflakes I'm making in their doors or windows. I made turkey's last month, and little words and sayings like 'let's be grateful or thankful.'"
It's a small gift to give, but Parker says it makes a large difference especially for children during the holidays.
"The masks are an extra present to them, an extra joy," said Parker. "If that brings a smile to their face and helps them have a little Christmas while they're there in the hospital, it makes me happy."
Around 200 people volunteered at the hospital prior to the pandemic, but that number is much smaller because of restrictions.
Although in-person volunteering is limited, there are still ways to help during the holidays, like donating items or toys.
For more information on volunteering or donating, click here.