Giving Back: Retired teacher Lynda Hoffman makes masks during pandemic

In a time where it seemed difficult to do much of anything, Lynda Hoffman decided she had to help. Hoffman, a retired Toledo English teacher with a passion for gardening, the arts and travel, heard of the need for masks for nurses in the early days of the pandemic.  She decided to do something about it and recovered fabrics that she had been saving for decades to create masks for nurses in the area. That effort expanded into headbands and surgical caps. 

Soon, people started donating money to thank her for her efforts. But Hoffman was not comfortable profiting from the pandemic. So, she and her husband, Ed, decided to use any money donated to purchase food for the Sylvania Area Family Services Food Pantry.

The end result? Over $20,000 in food, gloves, hats, and gift cards for the Food Pantry. And all the while, Hoffman has still been making masks. Current tally: 1 neck gaiter, 12 surgical caps, 178 headbands with buttons and 4,301 masks. A total of 4,492 pieces.

Hoffman’s generosity has extended to folks beyond medical professionals— she has donated masks to local schools and churches, as well. According to Hoffman, many people have been extremely generous with donations to make this possible. 

Name: Lynda Hoffman

Years lived in Toledo: Most of my life.

Occupation: English teacher (retired)

My story, in one sentence: I have been lucky to have an amazing family who has allowed me to do anything I dream of — from getting my Master’s degree, to pursuing the arts, traveling and doing charity work.

One song lyric to describe my ideal self: “I can change the world, with my own two hands.” (“With My Own Two Hands” by Ben Harper) 

What I’m doing, and what I want to achieve: I’m enjoying retired life with gardening, traveling (currently planning for post-COVID travel), and spending time with my daughters and grandkids. When the pandemic started, I began making masks because I wanted to do something to help frontline workers, and as I started getting donations for the Sylvania Area Family Services Food Pantry, I kept pushing to hit higher and higher donation goals to make the biggest impact. Making masks that gave so much back to the community made the last 12 months fly by.

If I could change one thing about Toledo: I would like to see more people working together to bring change to our city, to make it safer, and for people to take greater pride in their neighborhoods.

If I knew I could get away with it, I would: Love to touch old tapestries to find out how they are made.

The artists and musicians I love: Artists: Michelangelo, Leonardo Da Vinci, Monet. Musicians: Billy Joel and Bruce Springsteen.

The Toledoan I’ve met in passing that I’d love to get coffee with: Dr. Janet Robinson, Provost and Professor Emerita at Lourdes University.

For more information, please visit https://www.facebook.com/donations4saf