Samaritan Saturday: Southern Illinois teacher donates masks to the community

By Bethany Rentfro, Staff Reporter

A southern Illinois teacher is giving back to her community during the pandemic by giving away handmade masks.

Tiffany Delaney, a middle school teacher in Mount Vernon, has made over 6,000 masks for people in the community. 

“I don’t want to see anybody get sick, so I feel like we should do whatever I can to prevent that,” Delaney said.

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Delaney started making masks with some friends and said they have jokingly been referred to as the mask brigade. 

Delaney makes on average about 80 masks per day and the materials she uses are in compliance with the CDC guidelines. 

“I am such a fabric hoarder,” Delaney said. “I’ve bought some fabrics but I’ve also been trying to use what I have.” 

Cache Hawkins, Delaney’s cousin said Delaney has not charged a penny for the masks that she makes. 

“Her masks have been mailed as far as Bloomington,” Hawkins said. “She has a heart of gold. Not only is she making masks in her spare time but she is also a teacher.” 

Delaney said she also runs a business called Tiffany’s Closet where she does alterations on and gives away formal dresses that people have donated.

Delaney said she has over 2,500 formals for events such as weddings, prom and graduations. She also has some tuxedos and suits for men. 

Hawkins said Delaney made her wedding dress when she got married.

“She made my entire wedding dress for me,” Hawkins said. “I think she worked on it for maybe a month but I’m not really sure.” 

Even though some of these big events are being canceled or postponed, Delaney said she is still getting donations coming in so they will be ready when things get back to normal. 

“It started off really small, I just had a few,” Delaney said. “Now I’m getting Giovanni’s and Alfred Angelo’s and I do all the alterations that anybody might need for free.”

Delaney said she got into working on dresses when she bought her daughter’s seventh grade formal dress at a retail shop. 

“They told me they did not do alterations and they would not fix it,” Delaney said. “It had beads missing and they told me to do it myself. They gave me a bag of beads that didn’t even match the dress. That was probably the most expensive dress I ever bought.” 

Hawkins said Delaney is working non-stop and she is always willing to help people whenever they are in need and she has experienced some of this help personally. 

“My daughter has dyslexia and I can call her at any given time and she is willing to help tutor my daughter and give me pointers on how to help her overcome the dyslexia,” Hawkins said. 

Hawkins said Delaney would do anything for anybody in whatever way she could. 

“I think she just has a heart of gold,” Hawkins said. “She does so much and goes unrecognized.” 

Staff reporter Bethany Rentfro can be reached via email at [email protected]

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