Chapel Hill dentist aids High Country nonprofits

From left, Neaco’s Lola Mae and Keith Neaves, Dr. Jessica Funk, Neaco’s Russell Normand, Hospitality House Director of Development Todd Carter and Executive Director Tina B. Krause.

In early March, Dr. Jessica Funk closed her Chapel Hill-based dental practice and like most others, was stuck at home. After two weeks of being in the house, she felt the need to do something productive. About this time, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, recommended wearing face coverings to slow the spread of the coronavirus so she began sewing some custom stylish accessories.

“After sewing a dozen or so masks, people were asking to buy them from me," said Dr. Funk. "I have been sewing and crafting since I was a teenager, and this pandemic gave me the free time to do something that I have always wanted to do: create an Etsy site to sell crafts and donate the proceeds to charity.”

Funk launched her Etsy site, Stitches by Mrs. Funk, on April 12, proclaiming fun, funky and fashionable face masks for the whole family. Soon after, longtime friends Keith Neaves and Russell Normand began selling the face masks in their Blowing Rock store, Neaco, to benefit High Country charities.

“We are thrilled to be selling these bright, beautiful and functional one-of-a-kind face masks by our friend Jessica. Not only are her products a perfect ‘funky-fit’ for Neaco’s hip, mod vibe, but selling them to benefit the community that we love is the perfect way to celebrate our 25th year in business," Neaves said.

Hospitality House of Northwest North Carolina was the first local beneficiary of face mask sales at Neaco, receiving a $2,000 gift from the Blowing Rock retailer.

“We are so grateful to Jessica, Keith and Russell for choosing to support us in this way,” says Hospitality House Director of Development Todd Carter. “In these times of not being able to see each other smile, putting some funk on your face is a great way to show off your personality.”

“People ask if I am bored with sewing masks and honestly, I am not,” said Funk. “Each one is its own creation of fabric colors and I enjoy helping the person who will be wearing it and the charities that benefit from our donations.”

To see the latest designs of Stiches by Mrs. Funk visit  or Neaco, on Main Street in Blowing Rock N.C. Visit for more information.

For Hospitality House, updates visit and follow them on Facebook, Instagram and TikTok: @hosphouse and Twitter @HospHouseNWNC.

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Tom Mayer is the executive editor of Mountain Times Publications, a group of five news newspapers, six websites and one monthly periodical in the High Country of North Carolina.

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