Dharia and her husband are originally from a small village called Devgad Baria in Gujarat, India. They moved to the U.S. from the city of Hyderabad two years ago when their daughter Richa took a job at Google’s Boulder, Colo., office. The move was a big change and a long way from the rest of their family, but Dharia enjoyed sightseeing around her new home and meeting people at Wal-Mart.
Then the global pandemic struck, bringing with it a host of worries. Her loss of income was just a start. In addition to her own health, Dharia worries about her husband, who is diabetic. She also has two other children — one still living in India, and the other deployed with the military. Though she checks in with them as often as daily, it’s hard for a mother not to worry when her children are halfway around the world.
Still, her first instinct when social distancing began was to find a way to help others.
“She loves to get involved in the community,” Richa says about her mother.
When Dharia learned there was a mask shortage, she found her way to help, using the sewing skills she picked up as a young girl. So far, she’s given away 150 masks to her neighbors by offering them for free via Facebook. “I don’t want to take money,” she says. “I just want to do a service.”
With all that sewing, she even had to get her the rest of her household involved. Richa helps with the ironing, while Dharia’s husband handles packaging and emergency sewing machine repair. (Dharia is proud and amused that he learned how to fix it by watching YouTube videos.)