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Volunteer Spotlight: Linda Brinen Stout

October 8, 2020

Linda Brinen Stout started making cloth face masks as a way to give back to the community and help slow the spread of COVID-19. In the beginning of the pandemic, she was making and donating her masks to a retirement community in Mill Valley. Since then, Linda has made and donated approximately 3,600 masks, most of which went directly to Canal Alliance starting in May. Thanks to her determination to keep our community safe and slow the spread of COVID-19, her masks are made available to the Canal community during the Food Pantry every Tuesday morning. 

Linda is a two-time cancer survivor and feels strongly that she did not survive cancer twice only to succumb to a virus. “I’m not going to let people around me suffer if there’s something I can do to help.” She works hard and wants to make a difference and is someone who steps up to help when there’s a problem or others are in crisis. Linda is determined to be an active part of our collective mission to provide aid to those in need.  

“When we’re faced with such a kind of consuming set of circumstances, it’s easy to feel like there’s nothing that one person can do. It’s not difficult to start making small changes that might really help, so for me, making masks and giving people that layer of barrier protection is something I am capable of doing for my community.” 

Linda is a Professor of Pharmacology at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). She retired early in order to look after her elderly mother, who lives in the Mill Valley retirement community that she was making masks for. Caring for others is not anything new for her. If she had not retired, she would have been in the trenches training medical, pharmacy, and dental students.  

“This was the way I could help, by keeping people from contracting or spreading COVID-19. I had not touched the sewing machine in over 40 years. I actually had to teach myself how to make masks by watching YouTube videos.”  

“No matter what divides exist in our country right now. At the core, everybody still should feel cared for, and that they matter.” 

We’re deeply grateful for Linda’s dedication to keeping our community safe and providing these beautifully designed and practical tools for thousands of clients. Linda’s motivation and strong commitment to help her community is an inspiration to us all. “As long as there is a need, I’ll keep on sewing.” 

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