University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point alumni, students and community members came together this week to help fight the spread of COVID-19 with sewing machines, fabric and lots of helping hands.

The Pointer Day of Sewing, a day of service coordinated by UW-Stevens Point’s Alumni Affairs office, featured virtual gatherings to teach adults and children how to sew cloth face masks in partnership with the Sew Together for COVID-19 Facebook group led by alumna Kelly Van Laanen of Plover. She is from the class of 1999.

The sewers, who represented California, Colorado, Minnesota and Wisconsin, made more than 600 masks.

Several students in the Family and Consumer Sciences Education program also took part in the event, learning about textile construction and sewing as part of their coursework. These students have been sewing masks over the past few weeks, assisting with protecting people in their own communities, said Assistant Professor Susan Turgeson in a news release.

Colorado alumna and former Alumni Board president Tamara Moore from the class of 1992 said she was drawn to the event because it reminded her of how women from different generations used to come together to sew and quilt and build community.

“One of the most influential communities I’ve experiences has been the Pointer family,” she said. “I decided to participate from Colorado to connect through this shared experience and to give back to those who are serving at this critical time,” Moore said.

To help or learn more about Sew Together for COVID-19 go to To join in future Pointer Days of Service, email