Her late daughter loved to sew, so she taught herself how to make masks and raised nearly $17,000 for the local food pantry

Since March, Sharon Hebert has been crafting face masks in memory of her late daughter, Helen, who loved to sew.

(CNN)For Sharon Hebert, the way to overcome the most difficult challenges is to focus on helping others, and she practices what she preaches.

A 53-year-old mother of two from Norfolk County, Massachusetts, Hebert experienced the negative consequences of the coronavirus pandemic this when she lost her sales job in an antiques store.
But her life was forever changed in February, before the pandemic gripped the US, by the sudden death of her 15-year-old daughter, Helen.
    Helen Hebert
    Hebert became part of what she calls "a club" of parents who lost a child, a group she says has been highly supportive. Inspired by a person who also lost a child, Hebert threw herself into an activity.
    "I had to think about -- what would Helen want? How would Helen want me to react?" Hebert told CNN.
    Ever since, Hebert has been honoring her daughter's memory by using Helen's sewing machine to craft face masks. Teaching herself how to make masks by watching online videos, Hebert has been selling her masks for $5 to $8 and donating the proceeds to her local food pantry, where she noticed long lines as she drove by early in the pandemic.
    "I thought it was something that was going to go on for a couple of weeks, for a month. That was in mid-March, and here we are in November, and I'm still at it," she said.
    Hebert was able to raise thousands of dollars over the course of eight months.
    "As of today we are getting close to $17,000 for the food pantry," Hebert told CNN on Thursday.
    Sharon Hebert pictured with her son, Walter, wearing masks she sewed
    Paul Galante, the director of the Medway Food Pantry at Mahan Circle, told CNN that nearly 6,000 people have been fed "with a lot of her money."
    The food pantry has been dramatically busier during Covid, according to Galante. It serves people from about 20 towns in Massachusetts, with some people driving over 45 miles to visit, he said.
    "She has been so, so helpful," Galante said of Hebert.
    Hebert's donations supplied the food pantry with three months-worth of food and allowed Galante to purchase a commercial freezer. Hebert also held food drives, gifting masks in exchange for food donations to benefit the food pantry and donated food herself, Galante said.
    "She's just a wonderful person," Galante added.

    Sewing therapy

    Hebert's mask-making project started as a family activity with her sister Kerrie and other relatives, after Helen died.
    "We would all sit around and we'd just be cutting fabric, making masks, and sharing stories about Helen. In the beginning it was just really good therapy," Hebert said.
    Walter Hebert, Sharon's son, hard at work on the masks