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Iowa woman sets up 'giving tree' of face masks on family farm amid pandemic

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Iowa quilter Deb Siggins discussed on “Fox & Friends First” on Thursday how the idea of creating a “giving tree” with handmade face masks for health care workers came about.

Siggins, of Lisbon, said she began making the masks as a way to help out a local hospital during the coronavirus pandemic and wanted to provide a way for people to safely pick them up. Several states have reported a shortage of personal protective equipment, including face masks, amid the outbreak.

Siggins said she works for UnityPoint Clinic Family Medicine in Mount Vernon, Iowa and “UnityPoint Health - St. Luke's in Cedar Rapids sent out a request” for people to make and donate cloth masks, called Olson masks.

“What the masks do is protect your filters and the N95 [respirator] masks so that those masks and filters can be reused and you wash your cloth masks,” Siggins explained.

The 55-year-old pays out of her own pocket for all the materials, according to the New York Post. Some of the masks were reportedly for the hospital in Cedar Rapids, as well as some for patients and co-workers at the doctor’s office where she works in Mount Vernon, and others for workers on the front lines, including firefighters and grocery store workers.

Now Siggins hangs them on a tree nearby, which has since been dubbed the "giving tree," so people can get the masks while still maintaining social distancing.

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“I thought since we weren’t having Easter and we weren’t having an Easter egg hunt that I would put masks out on a tree that my husband decorates every year at Christmas with lights, so I just put like about 30 out and I put on Facebook that if anybody was interested in a mask they could just could come and get it off of the tree,” Siggins said.

Since Siggins shared the post about the tree on Facebook, it has taken off and as of Thursday, she has made more than 600 masks.

When asked what the response from the community has been, Siggins said, “Really good.”

“I think some people are afraid to ask or don’t know where to go,” Siggins added.

She went on to say that the experience has been “fun.”

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“We live on a farm and it was just kind of fun watching people coming in and take the masks and then leave and honk and wave,” Siggins said.

Fox News’ Alexandra Deabler contributed to this report.