Persell Teacher, Daughter Make Several Masks

Persell Middle School teacher, Annika Putney, and her daughter, Britta, hard at work at home sewing over 4,500 masks for our local community and across the U.S.

Persell Middle School teacher, Annika Putney, and her daughter, Britta, are helping their community, and other communities around the country, by making masks under the name, “Pink Polka Dots and Paisley.”

Approximately 10 years ago, Mrs. Putney started a wreath-making business, which shipped wreaths locally and across the U.S. In the last couple years, she turned her focus to holding wreath-making classes. As a teacher by day, this was a natural fit and she enjoyed making all types of seasonal wreaths with groups all around Chautauqua County.

In April 2020 during the COVID pandemic, Britta decided she wanted to help by making masks for family and friends to keep them safe. She learned to sew from her grandmother, Pat Limberg, and has her own sewing machine. With a stash of fabric, Britta went to work sewing when she wasn’t doing remote learning. Within a week, she realized she could not keep up with the growing requests by herself. So, Britta taught her mom how to sew, and the rest is history.

“After posting our first batch of masks online, I couldn’t believe how fast they went and how many more we were asked to make. I realized this was a way I could help people in my community and now all over the United States!” said Britta.

Initially, the first 1,500 masks went out to anyone and everyone who needed them. Annika and Britta simply asked for donations to help continue to replenish supplies.

With the additional help of Mrs. Putney’s mom and mother-in-law, they have now made more than 4,500 masks and have shipped to over 30 states (as far as Alaska).

“To think this all started with an 11 year old is astonishing. I am beyond proud of Britta and her dedication to this ‘project’ and in helping during this pandemic,” said Mrs. Putney. “We know we will NEVER forget the countless hours we’ve spent together in the craft room sewing away. This precious time together is certainly a positive of the last 12 months. We are also so grateful to everyone who has donated supplies to keep this mask-making mission going.”


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