FORT MYERS, Fla. — From producing shopping cart seatbelts to now face masks, Safe-Strap Company is switching gears amid the Coronavirus pandemic.
On Tuesday, Safe-Strap donated 400 face masks to Lee Health.
"We've been able to keep our workers employed, keep them safe, and also help the hospitals that need masks," said Paul Giampavolo, President and CEO of Safe-Strap Company.
Giampavolo founded Safe-Strap Company in 1983 to help reduce injuries to children on shopping carts.
Fast-forward 30 years and the original safe-strap remains widely popular among stores like Publix, Walmart, and Target.
Now, its manufacturing team in Fort Myers is busy making face masks using fabric and elastic donated by Michaels.
"I didn't want to lay people off; I wanted to keep them working," said Giampavolo.
Giampavolo says sewing machines were moved to the workers' homes so they can stay safe while still working.
The company hopes to make 3,000 masks a day to donate to hospitals across the country, like Lee Health.
"These homemade masks will be used for patients in our skilled nursing facilities, visitors who come with their spouse or loved one to have a baby, parents who are visiting their children at the Golisano Children's Hospital," said Chris Simoneau.
Simoneau is the Chief Foundation and Development Officer for Lee Health.
He says Lee Health is comfortable with the number of personal protective equipment (PPE) available for staff, but they do need more homemade masks for patients and hospital visitors.
Lee Health is also in need of gowns, face shields, goggles, blood, and monetary support to help feed frontline healthcare workers.
"We've received about 2,000 to 3,000 masks so far, and we're distributing them on a daily basis to all of our facilities," said Simoneau.
To be able to continue to help hospitals, Giampavolo says they need help through donations.
"The company is absorbing the labor of all these people at home without any sales, and we're going to do that as long as we can," said Giampavolo.
Safe-Strap's entire production force, except for two workers, is working from home making masks, and Giampavolo says their resources are severely limited.
Giampavolo says financial donations will be 100% applied to the production of masks so they can keep operating.
Hospitals can submit requests for masks through the company's email, email@example.com.
For more information on Safe-Strap Company, click here.