Near North Side retiree sews face masks for other seniors as her part in the ‘pandemic war’

The former insurance claims specialist says sewing is in her blood and something her mother passed on to her from a young age. She stitched her first dress when she was 12.

SHARE Near North Side retiree sews face masks for other seniors as her part in the ‘pandemic war’
Jeliner Jordan, 76, is making face masks for her neighbors at the Chicago Housing Authority’s Zelda Ormes Apartments.

Jeliner Jordan, 76, is making face masks for her neighbors at the Chicago Housing Authority’s Zelda Ormes Apartments.

Provided

During the 1960s, Jeliner Jordan moved from making shoes to making helmet liners for soldiers in the Vietnam War.

“I remember thinking I had to do a good job and I was dramatic in my mind because I knew our soldiers needed them,” Jordan, 76, said.

With the country now battling the coronavirus pandemic, Jordan is again part of a battle. But now, instead of helmet liners, it’s face masks that she’s making for her neighbors at the Chicago Housing Authority’s Zelda Ormes Apartments, a community for seniors.

“We may not be in the Vietnam War any more, but we are at one now, a pandemic war,” she said.

Sewing is in her blood, something her mother passed on to her early. Jordan made her first dress at 12 and went on to sew every prom and wedding dress for her family.

Before becoming an insurance claims specialist, Jordan was a seamstress for Dr. Scholl’s, Robert Hall stores and tailor shops. She still does free alterations for neighbors in her apartment building.

Jordan said making the masks has given her a sense of purpose during these difficult times. With every mask she makes, she feels she is doing her part and keeping busy while the state’s stay-at-home order is in place.

Jeliner Jordan wears one of the 250 masks she has made since the onset of COVID-19.

Jeliner Jordan wears one of the 250 masks she has made since the onset of COVID-19.

Provided

“I like to go out and be active, so being stuck in the house not doing anything was really boring for me,” Jordan said.

She said the masks she makes are free to anyone who wants them. She just wants to make sure people are staying safe.

She expects nothing in return, but people are leaving money for her anyway to help her buy the cotton T-shirts that she uses for her masks. One large shirt provides about two yards of material.

“My friend brought me a bunch of flowers and was telling me she loved her mask,” Jordan said. “She’s always wearing it.”

The Latest
NFL
Peyton Manning and his Omaha Productions company will help shape programming and promote the event’s content throughout the week.
The Spanish vegetable soup is tomato-based and mixed with a cornucopia of chopped vegetables.
Four men were fatally shot in under three hours early Saturday, according to police.
A man and woman were traveling south in the 4300 block of South Archer Avenue when the driver lost control of the car and crashed into a building, police said.
The woman was walking in the 200 block of South Sangamon Street Sunday when the man grabbed her arms and tried to pull her inside a minivan, police said.