Cathy van der Zalm is an active supporter of Red Roof Retreat. She also volunteers to help the NOTL Kinsmen at events when needed (her husband Jim is a member of the Club). Cathy served on the Board of Directors of the NOTL Skating Club for many years and now is an active volunteer at the rink.
Cathy is also very creative and uses her talent for sewing to support community causes. Last year her family gave her the gift of a Cricut and according to daughter Michelle van der Zalm, “she just let her imagination run wild.” She started a business called Made In the Zoo (Instagram ; Facebook Page ) and started selling some of her creations online.
In late March of this year she directed her skills towards making custom face masks and donating proceeds to the Walker Family Cancer Centre, as well as other foundations/charities, like the Canadian Cancer Society and MS Canada. To date she’s made almost 400 masks and about 50 scrub caps.
Michelle shared her mom’s story with us after we reached out to Simpson’s Pharmacy to learn more about the source for this personalized face mask worn by their driver, Ted. Turns out Michelle works at Simpson’s Pharmacy and it was her Mother, Cathy who had made these unique, customized masks as a gift for all the staff to help keep them safe.
“My mom (and Dad too) constantly give, give, give and never expect anything in return. They’ve always been this way. They’ve taught us similar qualities and we are so proud of them and the lives they lead. It’s a blessing to have them as parents and role models.”
Cathy is now taking a well deserved break and has retired her sewing machine from face mask making for awhile. Michelle requested that we be careful to make mention of that here in our article.
We think the idea of putting peoples name on the front of their face mask is genius and asked Michelle to share her Mother’s technique with us. “She was able to add names and designs on the masks with the use of her Cricut. It’s a stencil cutter that allows her to cut hard cardboard or vinyl stickers to use on her arts and crafts.”
Thank you to Michelle van der Zalm for contributing this community interest story to share on myNOTL.com.
Cathy and her husband, Jim van der Zalm have been residents of Niagara-on-the-Lake for over 30 years; Jim co-owns European Planters in NOTL with his sons Jimmy and Trevor; Cathy is an adoring mother of 8 children; proud Nana of 5 (soon to be 6) grandchildren.