Helping to support those in the music industry is a cause we here at SW? Inc. have always felt very passionately about. Therefore, we wanted to try and do something special to help the music creators and professionals in this industry who have been hit so very hard by this pandemic economically, as well as physically and mentally. We are so proud to have been able to show our heartfelt gratitude to the music industry at large by donating $1 to the indispensable MusiCares COVID-19 Relief Fund for every single one of our custom made MusiCares Covid-19 Relief Fund dual-layered cloth face masks—designed so brilliantly by Sew What? friend and skilled entertainment industry graphic artist John Rios of John Rios Designs. This monetary donation included every single one of this style of mask that we either sold or donated over the last year since we launched the MusiCares mask back in April 2020

We have been particularly happy to be able to donate these funds directly to this organization, which is a truly fantastic aid organization that “helps the humans behind music.” Offering preventive, emergency, and recovery programs, MusiCares is a safety net supporting the health and welfare of the music community across a broad spectrum of issues. It provides a safety net of critical health and welfare services to the music community in three key areas—Mental Health, Health Services, and Human Services. Founded by the Recording Academy in 1989, MusiCares safeguards the well-being of all music people through direct financial grant programs, networks of support resources, and tailored crisis relief efforts. Our amazing customers stepped up in a big way to buy these special face masks, enabling us to be able to continue to donate money to this incredible cause—and every dollar helps!

Recently, we were truly honored to have been able to make a donation of these custom made C-19 MusiCares dual-layered cloth (reusable/washable) face masks to the amazing and inspiring individuals with the Voices Of Our City Choir down in San Diego, California. You may recognize their name from Season 15 of America’s Got Talent, where not only did they get Terry Crews’ “Golden Buzzer” during their audition, but they made it all the way to the semi-finals!

A little background on this indispensable choir….They consist of both sheltered and unsheltered/homeless individuals in the San Diego region, those recently sheltered but near the poverty line and in fear of returning to homelessness, as well as housed and stable members of our society who want to be a part of the solution. With over 225 members at any given time, Voices of Our City Choir‘s weekly rehearsals and programs have become a beacon of hope for those experiencing homelessness. Professional musicians, staff, and volunteers provide a safe space each week for music making – providing them “outreach” without it actually feeling like outreach. Their choir members are given the option to work with their Case Managers and Peer Support Specialists (individuals who have lived experience of homelessness) working at their pace, thus building trust and a bond from people who show that they value them as a person. And most importantly, their staff is trained to recognize the individual and to build a strong rapport and connect the person with all of the resources that are available to them—which has helped dozens of their members move from homelessness to housing in just five short years. Very impressive indeed!

Even though the country is slowly but surely getting their crucial vaccinations for Covid-19, we know that people will need to continue to wear masks for a while to come, until enough of the country obtains them and we can reach herd immunity. Plus when out and about in public we just can’t know for sure who is vaccinated and who isn’t, so wearing a face mask is going to be an important part of our daily lives indefinitely. Public speaking and live performing offers their members an immediate opportunity to develop and professionalize their speaking and presentation skills, while also offering the general population the opportunity to see that people experiencing homelessness are actual human beings with hopes and dreams, and how homelessness can happen to anyone. And since the Voices Of Our City choir is typically invited to perform all around Southern California with up to 7 performances in a single month, we are so glad that they will be able to continue to do so in a safe manner by wearing our dual-layered SW face masks.

Being able to donate these special face masks to Voices Of Our City Choir, and then be able to donate the funds directly to MusiCares, has been a win-win-win for everyone involved—especially for us! We couldn’t have been happier to help out in our own unique way, as we know that in trying times like these we all need to be able to rely on one another for help, support, and encouragement as much as possible.