From idea to reality.
Read about our history.
Sandie Nagel, Founder
WHERE IT BEGAN
When Sandie Nagel’s longtime friend Sue (Mi Hermana) Mazer passed away in September 2021 from Covid-19, Sandie decided to create the National Covid-19 Quilt and dedicate it to Sue. That was January 2022.
Sandie is no stranger to creating non-profits.
In 2015 Sandie and he late husband Fred packed eighteen bags of food on their dining room table and delivered them to one Baltimore City School. Each bag was designed to feed a family of up to four, six meals for the weekend. Today, Weekend Backpacks sends out over 1100 bags of food every week to 42 Baltimore City schools. With a very hard-working Board of Directors and more than 400 volunteers including more than 50 drivers, Sandie took a short sabbatical to work on The Quilt. She continues to deliver food each week to “her” school Mary E. Rodman Elementary School and returned to semi-active duty on the Board.
Sandie and Fred along with Sue had participated in working with The AIDS Quilt. So, The Quilt is a fitting memorial.
After reaching out to Gert McMullin, Quilt Conservator & Production Manager of The AIDS Quilt, for guidance, she estimated she would have the first twelve panels ready by April 2022. A bad estimate. Sandie also sought not only family and friends of people that passed from Covid-19, but to honor survivors and caregivers. On October 19, 2022, the first twelve panels, which make up the Honor Square, were dedicated. They represent four states, ten people that have passed, one survivor and one caregiver.
Sandie’s vision for the quilt is that it will be exhibited on the Mall in Washington D.C. in Spring 2023. Her goal is to have at least 1920 panels, which will be sewn together to create 160 squares. The 1920 is in tribute to the first AIDS Quilt shown on The Mall. Hopefully, all fifty states plus territories will be represented. The Quilt will travel to various states upon
Sandie is looking to young people to become “Keepers of The Quilt” who will ensure that The Quilt continues to be “A Living History of the Pandemic” and will be displayed every year in Washington. Now, at age 85 Sandie looks to pass the baton to the next generation, sit back in a rocking chair and eat bon bons.
Barbara Gamse, Associate Curator
FROM COLLEAGUE TO FRIEND
Barbara is a passionate advocate and long time resident of Baltimore City. Barbara first collaborated with Sandie Nagel when Barbara became a volunteer driver for Weekend Backpacks delivering food bags each week to food insecure students attending Baltimore City schools, she continues to do so. Sandie shared her vision for the Covid-19 Quilt and Barbara agreed to help get the project launched.
Barbara has a lifetime resume of volunteerism including working with The Women’s Industrial Exchange and The Maryland Historical Society to name a couple. Barbara joined the team created special events to raise money for Weekend Backpacks and then went on become an active Board member.
Barbara was the first to share Sandie’s vision. But she forewarned her, Weekend Backpacks is her first love. Once the Quilt is dedicated and on its own, Barbara will return to her knitting, running around Baltimore City, hosting family and friends for dinners and focus back on Weekend Backpacks special events.