NEW BRITAIN – Just a few thousand dollars more is needed for the assembly of 18,000 face masks to begin inside New Britain High School.
A collaboration between medical device manufacturer OKAY Industries, the Consolidated School District of New Britain and the Community Foundation of Greater New Britain, the volunteer-initiated Face Shields Project is expected to launch next week.
The Hospital of Central Connecticut, the Hospital for Special Care and New Britain Police, Fire and EMS are all in line to receive the donations.
“Just about fifteen days ago, Jason Howey at OKAY Industries contacted our Foundation and talked to us about forging a collaborative partnership in the community to produce thousands of face shields, important personal protection equipment our local healthcare and first-responder heroes need immediately,” CFGNB President/CEO David Obedzinski said Wednesday.
The CFGNB called upon its community partners, including the Main Street Community Foundation, the Community Chest of New Britain and Berlin and American Savings Foundation, along with its donor-advised funds, to raise enough money for OKAY Industries to begin ordering materials and creating a prototype PPE mask for the job.
“We’re very pleased with the response to date,” Obedzzinski added. “It’s allowed us to move the project forward with plans to assemble 18,000 face shields in short order, and we’re only $5,000 away from our goal to raise $45,000 to cover the costs of this project.”
OKAY Industries President and CEO Jason Howey took on the project after learning just how dire the need for PPE was, knowing his company had the capability to design such a product and facilitate its assembly. New Britain Schools offered up the high school as project headquarters.
“We are currently waiting for the final materials to arrive and plan on getting the assembly line ready on Monday,” Howey told the Herald Wednesday, adding ] full production is expected to begin Tuesday, April 14.
The operation will be set up in the NBHS gymnasium, following safety guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Our big pull now,” CFGNB communications and donor relations manager Kimberly Duncan said, “is we’re looking for individuals, organizations or businesses who are still able to make a donation to help us reach the $45,000.”
“Every gift gets us closer to our goal, puts PPE in the hands of those caring for our most vulnerable, and shows a united community doing what it can to care for itself,” Obedzinski added.
Make a gift to the Community Foundation of Greater New Britain ‘In Honor Of’ the Face Shield PPE Project’ at CFGNB.org or by mailing a check to CFGNB, 74A Vine St., New Britain, CT 06052. Sign up to volunteer by visiting https://www.signupgenius.com/go/10c084aa4ae22a2fb6-face.
Erica Drzewiecki can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.