Published On: Fri, May 29th, 2020

Curating COVID – 19 Campaign Resident Francis Jawhari Donates Face Mask For a Historical Virtual Exhibit

By Destiny Harris 

Boca Raton, FL — In March, Founder and Designer of www.FHJBaby.com, Francis Jawhari transformed her online children’s accessory business into making face masks for children and adults while simultaneously homeschooling four children during the pandemic. 

In the daylight hours Jawhari teaches her four-year-old in pre-kindergarten, first and third grader about nouns and math problems, but when everyone else falls asleep at 8 p.m. she sews face masks for donation until her hands cramp up.

Working from home is not new to Jawhari who founded FHJ Baby, LLC in 2011 only a few months after having her second daughter, as she was inspired to start designing baby bibs and accessories after not finding any that fit her style. However, with high demands and low supply, she faces the challenges of online sellers raising the prices of elastic and basic white sewing thread. 

Jawhari’s shift to making masks has been very much a family effort. Her oldest daughter who is a junior at Boca Raton Community High school even assists her with cutting almost all the fabric on the weekends. 

Jawhari could not ignore those who were in need of face masks, so she had to step up and get involved. 

Jawhari explains that residents who still have the time and ability to help should do so. 

FHJBaby Founder and Designer, Francis Jawhari

Jawhari says “I believe that those who can must. I had the skill, I had the supplies and I felt compelled to do it. I had plenty on my plate already, but I wanted to step up.”

So far, Jawhari has donated the face mask to multiple organizations: Hannah’s Home in Tequesta Florida, The Open Door in Palm Beach Gardens, and Memorial healthcare system in Fort Lauderdale. 

Jawhari says “I’m exhausted every day, but it’s always been mind over matter for me. My shoulders might ache, my hand might cramp, but I push on anyway. I love my children, and I love what I do.” 

She is also a member of the Junior League of Boca Raton (JLBR) for 4 years which includes over 700 highly motivated influential women, who are committed to improving the community through the effective action of training volunteers. 

When Jawhari heard about the Boca Raton Historical Society & Museum’s Curating COVID-19 campaign from her husband asking Boca residents to voluntarily be part of history, Jawhari decided to answer the call by donating a face mask. 

Her husband, Hank Jawhari has been the president of the BRHS&M board of trustees for the past 2 years. 

Jawhari says, “My husband and I have always loved history. It allows people to build and to change…One of the most important things in life is to give. We aren’t here on this earth just for ourselves, we are here to help and serve others.” 

BRHS&M Curator, Susan Gillis believes the COVID-19 campaign is a  way to engage people’s interests in history and serve as a  benchmark in time.

“It is a really rare opportunity for a historian to be on the front lines of such a global event as it were, says Gillis. “‘It is imperative that we take the opportunity to capture these memories for the generations to come.’”

Every image, article, and any homemade mask submitted will have to be properly cataloged, preserved, and stored using best museum practices along with the rest of BRHS&M’s permanent collections. 

BRHS&M Assistant Curator, Patricia Fiorillo, wants every resident to be involved because everyone is apart of history and has a different perspective on it. No submission is too big or small for the exhibit that will be displayed virtually and physically. 

“It’s a chance to collect something meaningful for future generations,” adds Fiorillo.

The BRHS&M is requesting that residents of all ages – children and adults – contribute to their Curating COVID-19 campaign’s “Letters to the Future” project.  Residents are asked to submit written accounts, photographs, drawings, and/or videos, that reflect how the coronavirus has affected their lives. 

All submissions will be reviewed, by the BRHS&M curators, and they will be archived. Selected contributions will be shared on their website’s Spanish River Papers section, on their social media channels, in an online exhibit, and at an on-site exhibit in the future.

Residents should send their submissions to [email protected], with the subject line, “Letters to the Future,” or mail their submissions to the BRHS&M at 71 North Federal Highway, in Boca Raton, Florida 33432.  Upon receipt, all contributors to the Curating COVID-19 campaign will receive an acknowledgment of their submission — via email or regular post — along with a written release.

Jawhari is honored to be apart of this campaign and says the next place to donate to on her list is donating to a foster care system.

About the Author

- I am a senior at Florida Atlantic University majoring in Multimedia Studies with a concentration in Journalism and minor in Communications. I am a Newsroom Writer for the Boca Raton Tribune who strives to use my passion for writing not only to inform the public of current events but to encourage and empower the community to enact change.

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