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Retired tailor picks up needle and thread again to aid her community

Jeliner Jordan, Photo Courtesy of Jeliner Jordan

It started simple enough. Through her church, Chicago Housing Authority resident and retiree Jeliner Jordan was asked to make masks for a nursing home. Jordan’s masks became so popular, word spread and Jordan’s second career was born. For many years, the Zelda Ormes Apartments resident worked for Robert Hall Clothes as a tailor in a previous life. Now, she is keeping busy putting her skills to use since the spread of the COVID-19pandemic. At last count, she’s made over 250 personal protection masks for friends, family and fellow residents. And that’s probably only the beginning.

How has your life changed since coming out of retirement?  Or do you consider yourself semi-retired since COVID-19?
Since COVID-19, I have learned to go to church (and have had many meetings) by conference call and by Zoom. I consider myself a retired active senior.

How did the idea of making protective masks originate for you?
After hearing of the need for masks on TV, I thought, “I can do that.”
I started making masks for family and my senior family where I live at CHA’s Zelda Ormes Apartments. I made some for a nursing home where the mother of one of my friends lives. I want to make a mask for everyone in my building that wants one.

About how many masks do you make a day?
I can make 25 masks per day, from cutting to completion.

What are some of your other interests or hobbies besides sewing?
I’m very active in my church, LaSalle Street Church. I’m a member of the Order of the Eastern Star, Wisdom Chapter #25. I serve as building representative in my building. I lead an arts and crafts class in my building. And I offer free alterations once a month for the residents of my building, which have stopped because of COVID-19.

What brings you the most satisfaction doing what you do?
During this time of stay at home, it is a blessing for me to be able to make masks for my fellow seniors. My building is a community, a family of seniors that takes care of one another. I’m thankful for the gifts I’ve been given to share with others. When I see someone wearing a mask I made, I smile.