KITCHENER -- A community art project is helping people across Waterloo Region share their COVID-19 pandemic experiences in a safe and creative way.

Brenda Reid first started the From Behind the Mask initiative in October to allow residents to express themselves through quilting.

"From Behind the Mask is a quilt project that is bringing together all different stories from the public, their experiences of the pandemic," she said.

Waterloo Region residents can pick up a quilt block kit for free from various local businesses or follow instructions online. The kits use upcycled fabrics and include a back panel to put down pandemic experiences.

The kits are mailed back to Reid and her team once they're completed and will be made into a giant quilt that takes the shape of a mask.

There are 64 quilt block kits that have been returned as of Saturday, with hundreds more still being worked on by residents like Dinah Murdoch.

"It's such a great way to get involved in your community," she said. "I think this quilt is going to be so beautiful when it's all assembled and put together. I can't wait to see it.

"I think it will be such a telling thing for how this pandemic has affected so many people in so many different ways."

The community art project recently received funding from The Region of Waterloo art fund. Reid says this will go a long way to keep the initiative going and help to make a touring exhibition as they head into 2021.

"It will help us bring the project to more people," she said. "The whole idea is to collect as many stories from as many different people as we can."

Reid is hoping to collect all of the quilt blocks by April of next year and then start assembling the final project.