Racing to stop the spread; Abeyta family makes masks during pandemic

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EL PASO, TEXAS (KTSM) – It’s common knowledge: the Abeytas are a family of runners.

After an illustrious career at Hanks, Michael Abeyta is off to the University of Oregon next fall to run for the Ducks; older sister Andrea is already at Incarnate Word after also starring for the Knights; and little brother Matthew is keeping the tradition alive here at home, while their parents coach. But during quarantine, they’ve branched out.

The running family has become the mask-making family.

“My dad cuts, we pin, my mom sews and the masks get made,” said Michael Abeyta.

“ We have a little assembly line and all the kids have their role,” said Lucy Abeyta.

They sit down together and churn out as many as 40 masks every single night. They make them for family; for friends; for anyone.

“If we can make more masks for people, then we can prevent the spread of the crisis going on right now, the coronavirus,” said Michael.

The pop-up business had noble beginnings. Michael Abeyta Sr. works for Papa John’s Pizza and at the outset of the pandemic, his workers didn’t have face coverings.

“It started because I was trying to help out my husband with his employees,” said Lucy.

Papa John’s has since made masks available to its employees and now, the Abeytas sell their homemade masks for as little as $5. The boys start the job, the ladies close the deal and the finished product is a fashion statement.

The family has many different patterns, including universities around the state of Texas and, of course, the Oregon Ducks; they’ve also recently added Looney Tunes, Disney characters and Harry Potter.

“The more people that we’ve asked they’re like oh you have that one too? Ok I’ll buy that one as well,” said Michael.

The nightly routine has become a relaxing family activity in a time of uncertainty.

“We’re having conversations, we have music on and we’re singing so in our case it’s actually been a blessing for our family,” said Lucy.

The Abeytas say that they’ll use whatever money they make to help pay for Michael’s college expenses at Oregon.

However, as the business grows, they want to donate their masks to healthcare workers and others in the community.

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