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Doug Dolter Owner Dubuque Mattress Factory

SERVING OUR COMMUNITY

The COVID-19 Mask Project

[Spring 2020]

When we felt the COVID-19 outbreak’s impact in our community, it was clear there was one group that bore the most weight: our health care professionals. These dedicated individuals were serving on the front line and caring for those at greatest risk for infection. With the immediate need for additional PPE (personal protective equipment) for health care workers, serving and supporting our community took on a whole new meaning. It called for an all-out effort to help in a real, practical way. We knew we could help.

― Doug Dolter, Owner

Dubuque Mattress Factory

Some of our Heroes

Click any image for a full lightbox view.

In mid-March, we started making masks instead of mattresses and handing them out to whoever needed them.

From the beginning, we had no interest in charging for these masks.

We were proud to do our part to help the Dubuque area.

Over the years as a local business, Dubuque Mattress Factory has quietly helped others in need and supported our community in a variety of ways.

But when the COVID-19 outbreak’s impact escalated in our community, it was clear there was one group that bore the most weight: our health care professionals. These dedicated individuals were serving on the front line and caring for those at greatest risk for infection. Doug Dolter: “With the immediate need for additional PPE (personal protective equipment) for health care workers, serving and supporting our community took on a whole new meaning. It called for an all-out effort to help in a real, practical way. We knew we could help.”

The Mask Project was the brainchild of Doug Dolter’s sister (Jennifer Dolter Klaas, owner of Accessorize Me). The idea germinated during a conversation between the two. Then, Doug took the concept and ran with it, along with Accessorize Me staff, Dubuque Mattress Factory’s amazing employees, and LOTS of other folks in the Dubuque community:    

  • Joan Cosley, owner of We’ll Fix ‘em, came into the shop, donated her time, and started sewing. She even brought extra machines to use. Then, she did a video tutorial on fabric cutting and sewing. 
  • Individuals (Nancy was one of them) took fabric home and sewed masks.   
  • Brian Graham and Tim Hitzler (of Key City Creative Center) laser cut filter materials for the masks. [In two short weeks, 1,500 yards!]
  • Another friend donated more than 1,000 yards of filter material.

From the beginning, Doug had no interest in charging for these masks. He was proud to do his part to help the Dubuque area.


Doug Dolter:

  • In mid-March, we started making masks instead of mattresses and handing them out to whoever needed them. We set a goal of making 1,000 masks and quickly realized it wasn’t nearly enough. We were right.
  • By early April, Dubuque Mattress Factory had made and distributed 5,000 masks. Plus, we had coordinated the distribution of an additional 1,000 masks brought in from volunteers who were sewing at home. [But sadly, despite this incredible effort, it still wasn’t enough. The demand for masks had been increasing daily. The calls were still pouring in from individuals, nursing homes, healthcare professionals, businesses, and more.]
  • Help from Dubuquers. I remember that as the project snowballed, we spent several thousand dollars more than we could have anticipated at the start. [On April 1 alone, I purchased $760 in fabric from JOANN Fabric and Craft Stores.] So, I invited the community to contribute in dollars, supplies (thread, fabric, filter materials), and you delivered! Thank you!
  • By April 19, 2020, almost 30,000 masks were made for the Dubuque area. Amazing!


Thank you …

… to all who joined us in this great project for the Dubuque community!