Del Mar resident makes more than 300 masks for ‘pandemic sanity project’

Del Mar resident Kimberly Hiland-Belding has made more than 300 masks since the pandemic started.

As a “pandemic sanity project,” Del Mar resident Kimberly Hiland-Belding has made more than 300 masks for friends, family and neighbors since the novel coronavirus pandemic started.

“I was looking for something I could actually do against this pandemic,” she said. “It’s so frustrating when you look around and it’s hurting people and killing people. You want to be able to do something about it.”

With a sewing machine and basic sewing skills, she got to work by researching mask making in April, when a friend showed her the Open Source COVID19 Medical Supplies Facebook group. The group is part of, which helps give local communities the information they need to make sure they’re adequately supplied to keep themselves safe from challenges such as COVID-19. Then she started making two-layer quilting cotton masks.

Over the past several months, Hiland-Belding has texted friends offering to make masks, has them pick out the fabric they like, then she puts them in a bag and texts them to let them know the masks are ready for them to pick up.

She said each mask takes about 20 to 30 minutes to make. She also made a Google Site to share all the information she’s been using to make them.

Hiland-Belding said she and her family, including her two children, have been “very fortunate not to have been directly affected” by the virus. But she always knows people who have been infected.

Del Mar has had 33 COVID-19 cases as of Oct. 6, representing about .01% of the nearly 49,000 cases throughout San Diego County, according to county data. The North County coastal cities of Del Mar, Solana Beach, Encinitas, Carlsbad and Oceanside have more than 3,000 cases total. Oceanside accounts for about 60% of that number.

Countywide, residents ages 20 to 29 account for a little more than one-fourth of the total positive cases, more than any other age bracket. A little more than 800 county residents have died from the virus, equal to 1.7% of the number of positive cases.

In addition to the death toll, the medical community is also concerned about the long-term effects of COVID-19 for patients who aren’t fully recovered within a few weeks.

“I’m concerned about long-term damage, organ damage,” Hiland-Belding said. “Nobody knows who’s going to get long haul symptoms.”

Hiland-Belding added that she’s happy to make masks for people, but doesn’t have the capacity to mass produce them.

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