PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- 3TV’s Gina Maravilla and the Arizona’s Family Surprise Squad recently heard about a Scottsdale woman named Donna who has been making thousands of masks since the start of the pandemic. Not only that, but she hands them out for free. Her sister, Betsy, told the Surprise Squad that this mission of love began shortly after Donna received her stimulus check.

“The very first thing she bought was that sewing machine and she was on a roll,” Betsy explained.

“How many masks do you think your sister has made thus far and where have they gone?” Maravilla asked.

“Boy, I’m going to say close to 3000 masks, maybe even more.” Donna replied. “It first started here as a community thing. She wanted to make sure everybody here was safe when they needed to be safe. We actually saw on TV about the Navajo Nation, the trouble that they were in. I’m going to say she probably sent them a good 500 masks up to the Navajo Nation.  One of her coworkers was doing work for Phoenix Children’s Hospital. Well, now she wanted to make small masks. She does things never expecting anything in return. This is just her whole life.”

“She never asks why,” added Donna’s husband, Bill. “‘Do you need it? Yes. Okay, then take it.’ She always tells me, ‘If they need it more than I do, they can have it.’ I couldn’t have married a nicer person.”

A short time later, Donna returned from exercising at the pool in her community’s common area. She had no idea the Surprise Squad was waiting for her.

“I’ve heard a lot about you and I just wanted to say thank you for all that you do,” Maravilla said as she handed her a bouquet of flowers. “We heard about the thousands of masks that you are making. You’ve been a busy bee, haven’t you? Well, I’m not only from Arizona’s Family, I am also from our Surprise Squad. We wanted to take care of you and give you a little rest and relaxation and something kind of fun, so this is for you.”  Maravilla gave Donna an envelope.

“Whoa, awesome, thank you,” Donna said after she opened it and saw a gift certificate for meals at the Olive Garden inside.

“We heard that Olive Garden was your favorite,” Maravilla said.

Donna went on to explain why she started making masks. “This is the one thing I knew I could do because I’ve sewn all my life. No, I don’t have a ton of money to donate thousands here and thousands there. So I do what little I can with what I’ve got. I try to do 25 a day, just keep going. I started making masks for people here in the park because a lot of the people, you know, this is an over-55 community. My thing is, if I’ve saved just one I’ve done what I was supposed to do.”

“We also wanted to say thank you and contribute to the Donna Fund as well,” Maravilla said.

“It will just go back into fabric, trust me,” Donna responded.

Maravilla handed her a second envelope. “From the Surprise Squad and our Valley Toyota Dealers, we also wanted to give you this.”

“Oh my achin’ head, are you kidding?” Donna asked in surprise when she saw a check for $2,700 inside.  Wow, this is just so awesome, thank you.”

“You’re so welcome, thank you, thank you,” Maravilla said.

“Well let’s see now, how much fabric I can go buy today when I go to work,” Donna said. “Oh, this is great. Thank you so much.”

The Arizona’s Family Surprise Squad is sponsored by Valley Toyota Dealers.


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