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'Do something to take care of yourself' | East Tennesseans find ways to pass the time during COVID

With millions of people all over the world not able to go to work, many are coming up with ways to make money and pass the time at home.

TENNESSEE, USA — Millions of people all over the world are not at work, leaving people wondering what they can do with their time and maybe even make some money while at home.

Belinda Allen in Monroe County decided to start making sugar scrubs. She's typically works for the school system but since it's closed for the rest of the year, she has found her new business helps pass the time.

"I have made over 200 scrubs just this week," she said as she showed a counter full of products.

The project has not only helped her make money, it's also helped with the anxiety the pandemic brings to the table.

Credit: WBIR

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"I've just found this to be a stress reliever during this time when I'm out of school," Allen said.

It is a entrepreneurial bug that's inspired her son, too. Just last week he and a buddy started a lawn mowing business -- the only way his mother said he could earn safely.

"Find something to do, stay home," she said. 

With so many people out of work, stay home projects are popping up just about everywhere -- and some have a different kind of purpose.

One such person is Gabby Bogart, a college student who also has a pet care business. But the world of COVID-19 had drastically changed her plans.

"If no one is traveling out of state or out of the country, I can't make any money because I cannot sit," she said. 

Now, she has taken up a new pastime.

"I spend my free time making a lot of masks -- 350, give or take a few," she said.

Credit: WBIR

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So far she's donated masks to Vanderbilt, UT and hospitals in Johnson City.

"People have been donating fabric, thread and anything that can be donated as a whole," she added.

Tiffney Barry got the creative bug too, but her story is a little more emotional and starts with a memory of succulents.

Credit: wbir

"I am making succulent planters because they remind me of a simpler time when I used to help my papaw in his greenhouse when I was little," Barry said 

It especially means a lot to her during May.

"I couldn’t really go and get my mom anything for Mother’s Day, and so I thought I’ll make her a planter and a tangerine scrub," she said. 

Now, since COVID-19 is forcing people to stay home, she's making them again and her passion is just the same.

Credit: wbir

"They were so cute and special. I wanted to share them with the world and bring some simplicity back to the chaos around us," she said.

While the Allen family, Barry and Bogart have found purpose in their pastimes, they are wishing the same thing for you.

"Take care of yourself and take care of your family during this time," Allen said. 

Because you never know what others may need, and maybe you have the tools or the passion to do it.

"Maybe your neighbor needs help or maybe the older woman down the street needs help mowing her lawn," Bogart said.

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