Lifestyle News

Illinois pig farmer sews over 1,300 masks for her community


During this pandemic, farmers are helping out in anyway they know how — meet superhero Tammy Brink. Tammy is well known in her community for her sewing abilities. You can likely find her at the Buckle store in Fairview Heights, Illinois, hemming jeans for local customers or creating beautiful pieces at her home through her alterations and custom sewing business. Most recently, she has been busy sewing over 1,300 masks for area businesses and community members to keep them protected during the COVID-19 pandemic, and doesn’t show signs of slowing down.

“I have loved to sew since the age of 11 when I enrolled in sewing as a project in 4-H,” Tammy shared. She gives credit to her mom and a very special Aunt, Jean Klaus, for sharing their talent and time with her. Their passion quickly transferred to Tammy and she has not stopped since.

When asked how she got started creating masks she said that she had free time with prom being canceled, weddings postponed, and Buckle closed due to COVID-19. Tammy was asked to make cloth home sewn mask by some hospitals, businesses, and many individuals surrounding her.

Since March 22, the first day she began sewing masks, she has made over 1,000 for the local area. They range in color, pattern, and material — depending on what is available for purchase. She mentioned a shortage of elastic but friends and family quickly sourced her extra rolls so she could continue providing for those in need.

She, and husband Larry of 37 years, live on a farm in rural Highland, Illinois. They have both been involved in the pork industry since they were 4-H members. They enjoy raising mostly Berkshire hogs and spending time with their family.

They have three children who are all involved in the pork industry as well. Tammy and Larry enjoy helping their grandkids raise and show pigs along with giving back to the youth in the swine industry. They are also active with the Illinois Pork Producers Association where they help promote pork products and the farmers that raise them. Their dedication to the next generation of pork producers and leaders does not go unnoticed.

Tammy’s mask making skills have traveled to Alton, Granite City, Edwardsville, St. Louis, and many places in between. She simply charges enough money to cover the cost of material and donates her time and talent to support those on the frontline keeping us safe and healthy.

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