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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Necessity is the mother of invention, and necessity got two women in two states busy supplying masks to people in need.

“I had about two or three people say, ‘Ann since you sew, you should start making masks,’” said Annie Barnes, a longtime seamstress from Memphis.

Now she is firing up her sewing machine to make face masks.

“It’s meeting a need,” she said. “All of our sewing groups are doing it, free. And they are just trying to meet the need because we need that protection.”

Down the road in Oxford, Mississippi, Jennifer Milliner is just as busy.

The coronavirus made her think of her own health challenges, heart disease, lung disease and three open heart surgeries.

“If it is anything compared to what I have gone through when I have been in congestive heart failure or when my sarcodosis is flared up, or when I have a combination of both, you know it’s hard. It’s difficult to breathe,” Milliner said.

So she started sewing.

Both women have hundreds of orders. They are in two different sororities — Annie an AKA, Jennifer, a Delta.

“I thought well when this is all over, we want to have something to show our great grandchildren, what we wore and why we wore them,” Barnes said.

If you have a favorite piece of clothing, she’ll turn it into a keepsake mask.

Rhonda Culver bought several with the Florida Gators logo.

“As you can see I really like it,” Culver said. “It has piping around it. They are very well done.”

You can find the women online at and