Seamstresses who make Fiesta gowns find making face masks rewarding

Mitchell Chang Foundation creates jobs, raises money for innovative park

SAN ANTONIO – After April and Marvin Chang’s 3-year-old son, Mitchell, drowned at a San Antonio swim club in 2018, the Mitchell Chang Foundation was created to build Mitchell’s Landing, an ability-inclusive, pirate-themed public playground at Classen-Steubing Ranch Park.

However, the COVID-19 pandemic meant the foundation could no longer count on the $1.2 million needed to build the playground.

But that didn’t stop April Chang, the foundation’s director, from coming up with a Plan B.

“We’re going to have to get creative with fundraising," she said.

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April Chang said she had the idea of producing face masks to protect people from COVID-19 that would also create jobs for the perfect people -- 18 local seamstresses, including many who stitch the intricate beading on elaborate Fiesta gowns.

“Some really amazing and talented seamstresses that don’t have much work right now," April Chang said. “Even though they’re way more talented than making masks, they can make anything, honestly. But they’re doing this to help build an inclusive playground that’s really needed in our community.”

Chang said the seamstresses are not only earning extra money, “They’re just so proud" of their work and the cause.

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Chang said 2,500 masks are being produced weekly and are being sold at nine H-E-B stores in San Antonio, Schertz and New Braunfels.

At $9.99 each, Chang said 100% of the proceeds goes toward Mitchell’s Landing.

The opening of the park is planned for October 2021.

Here is the list of H-E-B stores where the masks are being sold:

  • Evans/Highway 281
  • Potranco/Loop 1604
  • Bandera/Loop 1604
  • Blanco/Loop 1604
  • Wurzbach/I-10
  • Leon Springs
  • Boerne
  • I-35/FM 3009 (Schertz)
  • I-35/FM 306 (New Braunfels)

About the Authors

Jessie Degollado has been with KSAT since 1984. She is a general assignments reporter who covers a wide variety of stories. Raised in Laredo and as an anchor/reporter at KRGV in the Rio Grande Valley, Jessie is especially familiar with border and immigration issues. In 2007, Jessie also was inducted into the San Antonio Women's Hall of Fame.

William Caldera has been at KSAT since 2003. He covers a wide range of stories including breaking news, weather, general assignments and sports.

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