Deb Siggins is hanging the face masks she made on a “giving tree” near her home in Lisbon, Iowa, for anyone to take.
This Iowa woman has gone above and beyond to make sure residents in her town have access to masks during the coronavirus pandemic.
Siggins, 55, made the hand-sewn masks available for anyone— friends, family, neighbors, and people in the community to grab if they need one.
She began by making masks for UnityPoint St. Luke’s when the local hospital put out a call for donations in March.
Siggins told Good Morning America, “My goal was to do 100 for the hospital, but then my friends and family wanted some and it just snowballed.”
“It went crazy, I’m getting so many requests from everywhere to the point where I can’t keep up.”
After she donated the supply for St. Luke’s, she continued making masks and estimates she’s sewn over 400 masks at this point.
Siggins works at a doctor’s office, and as a skilled knitter, she was inspired to use her skills to pitch in.
“I just felt like [my sewing] is a gift that I could put it towards other people because it’s a gift that god has given me,” she said.
Masks and other personal protective equipment are in short supply, and people and companies all over the world are doing what they can to produce items that will help slow the spread of COVID-19, keep healthcare workers safe, and ultimately save lives.
Now that the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended that people wear face coverings in public, the mask supply shortage is affecting non-healthcare workers who are now in need of masks.
Realizing that distributing so many masks was in violation of social distancing protocol, Siggins came up with the brilliant idea to hang them on a tree for people to access safely.
“It was hard to reach everybody so I just put on Facebook that I had a mask tree,” she said.
The masks are sewn in a variety of styles and fabrics, and Siggins covers all production costs on her own. She hangs and regularly restocks them as people in need of masks claim them every day or two.
“It was really cool to see people driving up, grabbing a mask and leaving,” Siggins said. “It’s been a hit.”
Siggins has also made masks for coworkers, firefighters, paramedics, grocery store employees, and for senior citizens who are patients at the doctor’s office where she works.
“I’m a giver not a taker, so I’m always happy to help,” Siggins said.
Siggins is getting a lot of requests but intends to keep up with mask production until the pandemic ends.