Kathy Blannin McKenzie’s two Australian Shepherds Tuca and Chloe sport masks made by their owner. McKenzie donates 10 per cent of each mask sale to the Animal Lifeline Emergency Response Team. (Contributed)

Kathy Blannin McKenzie’s two Australian Shepherds Tuca and Chloe sport masks made by their owner. McKenzie donates 10 per cent of each mask sale to the Animal Lifeline Emergency Response Team. (Contributed)

Penticton woman’s charitable mask business takes off

Kathy Blannin McKenzie began making masks after losing her job, they’ve now sold across North America

After losing her job due to COVID-19, a Penticton woman began using her creative skills to make money for herself while also supporting a local charity.

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Kathy Blannin McKenzie, 62, began making masks at home to donate to Animal Lifeline Emergency Response Team (ALERT) volunteers. From there, demand took off and now the masks have been shipped all over North America.

McKenzie’s masks sell for $10 with $1 from each sale going to ALERT.

Based in Penticton, ALERT is dedicated to animal welfare through the preparation for and the actual rescue and shelter of domestic animals and livestock, in a disaster.

Volunteers are mobilized when local authorities request ALERT’s help and when Emergency Management BC’s Emergency Support Services is activated. The organization relies entirely on donations and volunteers.

Currently waiting to get ALERT training and become a volunteer herself, McKenzie donated 30 masks to ALERT volunteers. McKenzie also gives masks away to elderly people and those who are immunocompromised.

The masks themselves are much more than a “piece of fabric with straps,” McKenzie said. Each mask is made from 100 per cent cotton and includes a replaceable filter and nose wire.

To see more of McKenzie’s masks or to order one for yourself go to McKenzie’s Facebook Page, Kathy’s Masks.

McKenzie’s custom made masks have become so popular that she has hired someone to help her produce them. (Contributed)

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