Donna Hinzman sews 1,000 cloth masks

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Donna Hinzman of Guttenberg has sewn and donated 1,000 cloth face masks during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo submitted)

By Caroline Rosacker

Seamstresses across Iowa are stepping up and helping out as the nation faces a shortage of face masks amid the COVID-19 pandemic. "Mask for the Frontlines Iowa," a grassroots effort, has more than 250 individuals across the state making protective masks for all our frontline workers. Organizers said, "We decided that this was a need that we could fill, knowing fully well that these are not ideal. In the perfect world, we would have N95s. This is our last resort in the absence of N95s and we wanted to do whatever we could to help our frontline workers and not just the hospitals, but thinking about the person who's working at your local grocery store." 

Many area women have been generously sharing their time and talent, and keeping themselves busy sewing beautifully handcrafted protective face masks for Guttenberg residents. Our community appreciates all their efforts. 

Donna Hinzman 

Donna and Bob Hinzman are lifelong residents of Guttenberg. Donna is the mother of two sons and three step-daughters. The couple has been blessed with 14 grandchildren. In the past few months Hinzman has been busy sewing 1,000 protective cloth masks in an effort to help frontline workers stay safe. She commented, “To date I have made 1,000 masks. Over 600 of them have been donated to Guttenberg Municipal Hospital and Clinics (GMHC), and the rest went to Imagine the Possibilities, Inc. of Guttenberg, and family and friends.”

“We appreciate Donna, and the many others who have sewn fabric masks for GMHC including Lori Barry,

Shirley Peterman, Joanne Kuhse, Diane Schilling, Kristin Klingman, Gary and Susan Aulwes, Reece and Rita Klink, Amy, Kayla and Mariah Bergan, K & K Logo, Carol Tomkins, Maureen Schroeder, Rosalie Kickbush, Joan Simon, Cindy Tuttle, Wendy Shea, Terry Pittman, and Kevin and Dianna Gonzales. These seamstresses have become our partners to keep our communities safe, allowing us to provide a mask to our patients and to others,” said Tim Ahlers, GMHC CEO.

“We can’t over-emphasize the importance of wearing a mask when you are out and about in public, especially as more out-of-towners visit our communities. When you wear a mask, you are not only protecting yourself, but you are protecting others,” said Ahlers.

The busy seamstress has plenty of fabric and talent. “I learned to sew when I was in high school. Mrs. Cherne was my teacher. I have been working on hand sewing quilts for the past few years, so I have a stash of fabric on hand from those projects,” she said. 

Hinzman is a member of the “Mask for the Frontlines Iowa group.” She noted, “Our group has made over 75,000 masks for those in need. Hardly a day goes by and someone calls for a few masks. I always have some on hand. They are put in a bag and people pick them up by my mailbox, keeping everyone safe.” 

Hinzman shared the inspiration for her ongoing commitment. “When this pandemic started I wanted to do something to help. My two daughters-in-law are nurses, and they needed masks for work, so that’s how I got started. The project just kept going beyond what I ever imagined doing. I had plenty of fabric on hand. The elastic is what was hard to find. It was like buying toilet paper — very hard to find and it took forever to get here.” 

Those who are close to Hinzman know she likes to keep busy. “Sewing masks has kept me busy through all of this. I sew at night, rainy days and cold days. If the weather is nice I am outside. There is always something around our 20 acres to keep me busy in addition to my flowers and yard. Sewing masks has helped me get through the pandemic — it has given me something to do when we have to stay home!” she exclaimed. “I was going to quit at 1000 but I guess I will keep going to help get masks to everyone I can. I make masks all night long in my sleep!” she laughed. 

Hinzman concluded, “We are fortunate to live in a county that has excellent hospitals, doctors, nurses, and staff that are available for all of us anytime we need.”

GMHC is still accepting mask donations. For additional information or if you would like to get involved with “Masks for the Frontlines Iowa” you can find them on Facebook. 

Carol Tomkins, Maureen Schroeder, Rosalie Kickbush, Joan Simon and Cindy Shea. These seamstresses have become our partners to keep our communities safe, allowing us to provide a mask to our patients and to others,” said Tim Ahlers, GMHC CEO.

“We can’t over-emphasize the importance of wearing a mask when you are out and about in public, especially as more out-of-towners visit our communities. When you wear a mask, you are not only protecting yourself, but you are protecting others,” said Ahlers.

  The busy seamstress has plenty of fabric and talent. "I learned to sew when I was in high school. Mrs. Cherne was my teacher. I have been working on hand sewing quilts for the past few years, so I have a stash of fabric on hand from those projects," she said. 

Hinzman is a member of the "Mask for the Frontlines Iowa group." She noted, "Our group has made over 75,000 masks for those in need. Hardly a day goes by and someone calls for a few masks. I always have some on hand. They are put in a bag and people pick them up by my mailbox, keeping everyone safe." 

Hinzman shared the inspiration for her ongoing commitment. "When this pandemic started I wanted to do something to help. My two daughters-in-law are nurses, and they needed masks for work, so that's how I got started. The project just kept going beyond what I ever imagined doing. I had plenty of fabric on hand. The elastic is what was hard to find. It was like buying toilet paper — very hard to find and it took forever to get here." 

Those who are close to Hinzman know she likes to keep busy. "Sewing masks has kept me busy through all of this. I sew at night, rainy days and cold days. If the weather is nice I am outside. There is always something around our 20 acres to keep me busy in addition to my flowers and yard. Sewing masks has helped me get through the pandemic — it has given me something to do when we have to stay home!" she exclaimed. "I was going to quit at 1000 but I guess I will keep going to help get masks to everyone I can. I make masks all night long in my sleep!" she laughed. 

Hinzman concluded, "We are fortunate to live in a county that has excellent hospitals, doctors, nurses, and staff that are available for all of us anytime we need."

GMHC is still accepting mask donations. For additional information or if you would like to get involved with "Masks for the Frontlines Iowa" you can find them on Facebook. 

 

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