Kidnapping survivor finds healing by sewing safety masks, sharing them with her Farmington community

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The process of coming out of isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic has been especially meaningful for a Farmington woman.

One year ago, Alissa Bui was abducted at gunpoint by a stranger as she left work. She filed a report with the St. Paul Police Department which stated he forced her into his car, drove around demanding money and threatened her. 

"It was absolutely terrifying," said Bui.

She eventually persuaded her abductor to let her go. That was last April. 

Healing for Bui has taken time and a turn. Over the months in the security of her own home, she started sewing safety masks, thousands of them. When the pandemic struck, Bui connected with the Farmington Faith Church on 8th Street and wanted to contribute. 

"I thought this is a vulnerable population of people coming for meals who could really use the help," said Pastor Karen Evenson. Bui added, "I feel like I need a deeper purpose."

For one hour on Wednesday evenings from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., the church provides warm meals and a bag of food for free. 

A line of cars starts to form ahead of time and lines up for blocks. As each driver pulls into the church parking lot, they are greeted by the Pastor and Alissa, asked how many meals they would like and if they wanted a mask. Each driver said yes. 

"I feel like when I do things I am reaching outside of myself and by helping other people it really helps me too, it soothes my soul," said Bui.

By the end of the event, 250 handmade safety masks were handed out. 

Police confirmed the suspect is still at large in Alissa's kidnapping.