During this unprecedented time, with the community taking unusual steps to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus, many are going above and beyond to help their friends and neighbors. In a series called "Heroes Unmasked," The Pioneer will be featuring local people, nominated by their peers, who are making a difference in their community.

BIG RAPIDS — When 10-year-old Paris resident Lily Modene heard about the coronavirus and those in need of masks in the area, she knew she needed to do something.

"I first learned about (the coronavirus) on the news," she said. "I thought it was not very great."

Trying to think of ways to give back, Modene turned to social media and a close relative to find her solution.

"I saw these things on Facebook where people were making masks, and I thought ... 'Hmm, maybe I could make these too," she said.

Modene received her first sewing machine as a Christmas present from her grandmother — Grandma Julie — and was taught how to sew. Little did she know, a few years later, that she'd use that sewing machine to help impact the lives of many during a global pandemic.

"I am hoping to protect the essential employees and stop the spread of the virus," she said. "By the end of the month, I'd like to make about 35 (masks) because I just made 10 in one day."

First creating masks with her grandmother for her family to use during their trips to the gas station and grocery store, Modene is now making masks for any area resident or business in need.

"I help people because I don't want them to get sick," she said. "We're all in this together."

The same girl who hosted a lemonade stand to help the animals at Mecosta County Animal Rescue Coalition, Modene's mom, Alaina, said helping people has always been in her daughter's character.

"She's pretty attentive to the different needs," she said. "She's one of those people that if she sees something she could do to help, she just does it.

"She's making (masks) for any place that needs them."

According to her mother, Modene has already donated to Mr. C's in Paris and Pizza in Paris, and plans to donate to more.

"For the kids especially, this is kind of a scary time," Alaina Modene said. "...Obviously, things are changing with the way that everything is right now, and I just think that if a kid can look at it and see the perspective of, 'I don't care who it is. I don't need to know the details."

"I just know that I can help, without causing any harm to myself," she added. "A kid's perspective is pretty enlightening. They're not held back by anything that adults are."

Those interested in donating fabric to Lily Modene's cause or are in need of a mask of their own may contact her at modelil1@reedcityschools.org.