Serving the Fullerton Community Since 1922

The Hornet

The Hornet

Serving the Fullerton Community Since 1922

The Hornet

How a Reddit user and his wife turned their downtime into an effort to help their community

 

 

In the midst of a pandemic, there’s only so many times you can clean out your garage or binge watch Netflix shows. A Reddit user and his wife turned their downtime into a routine of making and distributing masks to the Orange County community free of cost, all while taking care of their one-year-old daughter.

Nathan Zanze, 1-year-old daughter, and wife Kirsten Zanze smiling for the camera. (Photo courtesy Nathan Zanze) (left to right)

Aliso Viejo resident Nathan Zanze, a clinical lead at an applied behavior analysis company, and his wife Kirsten Zanze, a graphic designer, started making masks for friends and family long before the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended the practice. Kirsten, a quilter, had some fabric laying around and found a mask pattern by a nurse. She modified the wire located on the bridge of the nose to prevent any leaks and added a pocket to be able to apply a filter. This would ultimately make the pleated mask more versatile. 

After coming across a Reddit post where an individual with diabetes explained how afraid they were due to the COVID-19 circumstances, Nathan told himself, “ If this person needs masks, then somebody else is going to need them.” That’s when they decided to start distributing masks to the public in Orange County. The process originally started out of pocket, but now many are contributing with donations. Any remaining donations will be donated towards nonprofit charities that feed people during the COVID-19 crisis. 

After a Reddit post in which Nathan encouraged those interested to message him their name, number, city and number of desired masks, the Zanzes received an unforeseen amount of requests. With over 50 deliveries and 180 requests, he inputs contact information on spreadsheets and makes sure the logistics of it all works out smoothly while Kirsten gets her sewing skills on. After making a couple of masks and getting used to the process, the Zanzes have managed to go from producing one mask in an hour to making  a single mask in 30-45 minutes. 

Chris Barlo and his 4-year-old son delivering masks.

The Zanzes personally deliver the masks to up to five people in an open area to play it safe.  To keep the delivery process short and efficient, meet-up spots are determined depending on where each group resides. Nathan notifies requesters when their masks have been finished and from there lets them know what part of their city he will be located in so they can go pick up.  

Recently, Chris Barlo, a Reddit user that Nathan describes as a “major player” volunteered to help them deliver masks to those who can’t drive. If Nathan is notified that a certain individual can’t drive, he then contacts Barlo. There are even times when his 4-year-old son gets to co-pilot. Although masks are delivered on a first-come, first-served basis, they are making sure they get to everyone. So far they have been able to supply masks to individuals between the ages of 3 and 73.

In order to take safety precautions, as soon as they arrive home they make sure to remove their clothing and head straight to the shower. “There’s no perfect way to avoid people when you’re trying to help them,” Nathan states. 

This pleated reusable face mask ties around the head, has a pocket for a filter and a wire on the bridge of the nose.