By JOSE NEGRON
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Leesa Kassler has been finding ways to help her community.
From donating food and offering free meals to children to spending countless hours creating masks for those in need, the Elizabeth Township resident and owner of 2nd Avenue Boutique in Elizabeth has helped in numerous ways.
“I see people on the street when I come to my store who are so desperate for something and I don’t want to see that in my community,” Kassler said.
“My business is here, so it’s my job to take care of my people, too.”
Kassler first lent a helping hand a few weeks ago when she donated 20 pizzas from Mama Pepino’s in Elizabeth to families in need.
Mama Pepino’s made a post on Facebook April 5, stating the pizzas she donated were available for pickup.
Kassler said others contributed as well, providing additional donations to offer more pizzas for those who needed them.
“When we did the pizzas, families were just so happy to have that food,” Kassler said.
“We tried to do it on the weekend because families are usually out of supplies by the weekend.”
Kassler was back to her giving ways Saturday as she donated 50 lunches to children in Elizabeth.
The meals included a ham wrap, Oreo cookies, chips, apple sauce, fruit and a drink.
成年轻人电影直接看“Some were crying and some just said they were blessed,” Kassler said. “Someone said they didn’t have any food for the day and they just heard about it, so they drove down the street. Everyone was just very happy.”
While her store has been closed for business during the pandemic, Kassler has remained hard at work, utilizing her talents to help the area in another way.
“I went to school to be a fashion designer, so I know I have a talent for sewing,” she said. “Now that my store can’t be open and I can’t do any custom orders or anything, I decided to start making masks for the community.”
By 7 p.m. Monday, Kassler said she had made up to 800 masks. She sews the masks and has received help from her mother, who has done all the cutting and ironed the interfacing on to the fabric.
“That is a huge help to me,” said Kassler, who has been producing face masks since the beginning of March.
While Kassler does not charge for the masks, she accepts donations via a fundraiser on Facebook.
By Tuesday evening, she had raised $3,805 from 80 donors.
She uses the donated funds in her effort to help feed kids in the community and to purchase supplies such as elastic, interfacing and fabric. Those supplies are utilized in the mask-making process.
成年轻人电影直接看“People don’t have to pay for them, it’s totally up to them what they want to do,” Kassler said of the masks. “The reason we have the donations is so we can continue to give people the masks.
成年轻人电影直接看“We’ve received a lot of thank you cards and letters from people that are saying they are grateful for what I’m doing. It makes me happy to know they are happy someone is looking out for people in our community.”
Kassler hasn’t stopped at simply making masks for those in the community.
She has also donated masks to an assisted living facility in the Mt. Vernon section of Elizabeth Township, a hospital in Bradenton, Fla., and Advanced Home Health in Pittsburgh.
“I sew all day and into the night. I finally take a break, go to bed and get up and do it again,” said Kassler, who has also made masks for officers in the Elizabeth Borough Police Department.
For mask pickups, Kassler said her store is open from noon to 2 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. She received a letter from Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf and State Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine stating her business is an essential store and is allowed to be open for distribution.
Kassler appreciates the opportunity she has to give back to her community, a selfless attribute she says she obtained from her late father, George Miscevich, a former member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.
“He always gave to everybody,” Kassler said. “He was always helping families and people, and that’s just the way I am.”
Her next venture involves ordering hoagies from a local establishment this weekend and passing them out to families via curbside pickup.
“I’m not going to stop,” Kassler said.
成年轻人电影直接看“I love doing this for people. That is just the way we were raised. If I have anything, I’ll give it to you.”