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Iowa woman sews masks and hangs them on a 'giving tree' for anyone to take

It's not Christmas, but for Lisbon, Iowa, there's a tree out there with a few special gifts nonetheless.
Credit: Courtesy Deb Siggins
Deb Siggins, 55, has sewn hundreds of face masks and hung them on a tree near her home for friends, family, neighbors and local community members to grab when they need one.

LISBON, Iowa — It's not Christmas, but for the community of Lisbon, Iowa, there's a tree out there with a few special gifts nonetheless.

Deb Siggins, 55, has sewn hundreds of face masks and hung them on a tree near her home for friends, family, neighbors and local community members to grab when they need one.

"My goal was to do 100 for the hospital, but then my friends and family wanted some and it just snowballed," Siggins told CNN. "It went crazy, I'm getting so many requests from everywhere to the point where I can't keep up."

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Her act of kindness began as a mission to help a local hospital. UnityPoint Health's St. Luke's Hospital in Cedar Rapids had sent out a request asking people to sew masks for their health care workers facing shortages amid the coronavirus pandemic, and Siggins was determined to help.

All across the nation, small groups of Americans are coming together to help get doctors the equipment they need: factories have begun producing masks, concerned citizens are sewing masks and groups are organizing and calling for donations.

Credit: Courtesy Deb Siggins
Masks that Deb Siggins sewed.

While the mask and supply shortage crisis continues to be a critical issue for front-line workers, regular citizens are now scouring to find their own masks after the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended people wear face coverings in public.

To help with the shortage while maintaining social distancing guidelines, Siggins hangs up her homemade masks, which she sews out of a variety of designs, on the tree. She regularly restocks the masks, which she says usually disappear within a day of her hanging them up.

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The talented crafter has also used her gift of sewing to make masks for coworkers, firefighters, paramedics, grocery store employees, and elderly 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.

While the requests for masks has started to get overwhelming, Siggins doesn't plan on stopping until the pandemic is over.

Credit: Deb Siggins
Deb Siggins and some of the health care workers who received the masks she's sewn.