Nashua-based, non-profit community Makerspace, MakeIt Labs, is teaming up with Coca-Cola to create additional face shields for healthcare workers across the region.
In early March, the Makerspace heard about the potential shortage of masks as well as face shields and decided to get involved. MakeIt Labs tested options for face shields with the help of staff from Southern New Hampshire Medical Center’s Sterile Processing Department.
The non-profit, using its own funds as well as donated materials from Easypak, Novalex, and Dell, created kits for thousands of face shields for SNHMC. Healthcare workers put together face shields for both staff at SNHMC and Elliot Health System, both members of SolutionHealth.
Coca-Cola Northeast saw an opportunity to provide logistics and a supply chain to support MakeIt Labs. The beverage company asked packaging manufacturer EasyPak to donate plastic sheeting to make the face shields, and they agreed. A Coca-Cola Northeast delivery truck then delivered the materials, marking the first donation of materials to MakeIt Labs.
MakeIt Labs says it’s also gained new partnerships thanks to the help from Coca-Cola. For example, one donation offered to the company was from Sonoco in Georgia. Georgia Tech had a need, so MakeIt Labs was able to make the connection and plastic sheeting for face shields was delivered to the school.
Bill Schongar, from MakeIt Labs, said, “Most people assume Coca-Cola has endless amounts of sheet plastics, which they don’t since that’s not how bottles are made. So, they’ve been helping us be creative in seeking alternative supply lines.”
MakeIt Labs says the project is important because it’s a community organization that depends on local healthcare workers when it needs their help. “When we saw that there was a way we could help in return, we jumped on it. That, to us, is core to who we are as makers—finding solutions to make an impact locally, while reaching out even further to help,” Schongar said.
Long-term MakeIt Labs says it hopes industrial production will come fully online. The Makerspace also says its volunteers will continue to help fill in the gaps locally for face shields and masks.
“People who put their lives on the line every day are amazing to us. We all share that respect and admiration, and we want to help keep you safe,” Schongar said.
About MakeIt Labs:
MakeIt Labs is New Hampshire’s first community workshop and is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. MakeIt Labs is located in Nashua, NH. Its doors opened in 2010 to give makers a place to dream, learn, and create with other like-minded people.