Mask-making effort wraps up in Decorah

Submitted by Jeri Laursen

It all began with a simple question to Brenda Dietiker, Nursing Director at Winneshiek Medical Center, “Brenda, what do you need?”

The answer: a resounding “MASKS, we need face masks!”

That first request for about 100 masks for Winneshiek Medical Center is what started the Seamsters of Winneshiek County (which combined forces with Decorah’s Ann Mansfield’s group called Doing Our Part early on).

This group of 188 volunteers cut, sewed, distributed, and donated $29,000 worth of their own fabric to create 37,410 total face masks for the Winneshiek County community.

The Seamsters celebrated the end of this volunteer endeavor with a recent picnic in Phelps Park, which was decorated with hundreds of fabric scraps left over from the project.

Here are the final Seamsters Union of Winneshiek County numbers:

  • 37, 410 total face masks
  • 383 PPE gowns
  • 489 crocheted ear savers
  • 188 volunteers
  • 14,224 volunteer hours (x$20/hour value = $284,480 worth of time)
  • 92 county area schools, clinics, businesses, organizations served
  • 14,739 total yards of elastic used – (11,017 yards donated by volunteers!)
  • 3,870 total yards of fabric used – (1,961 yards donated by the volunteers!)
  • Total cash and grants received: $35,871.23
  • Community Bin donation collection totals: Oneota Community Coop – $11,930; Depot Outlet – $7,710; Bin at Shirley Vermace’s driveway – $6,393; Decorah Farmers Market – $1,881; Decorah Bicycles – $445; Red Roxy Quilt Shop – $168.60; Vesterheim – $135; Your Place – $50.
  • Total expenses for fabric, elastic, baggies, printing, and advertising was estimated at $34,542.53.

Approximately $8,083 from Seamsters Community Bins was given away in small donations to the following area non-profits: Helping Services for Youth and Families; NEICAC Heating Assistance; GAP Area Food Pantry; Decorah Food Pantry; and to the Decorah Free Medical Clinic.

Members of the group thanked all of the businesses, organizations, and families who have supported this project over the last 15 months

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