Local small business Simple and Sentimental has begun using their laser cutter to create face shields for hospitals across the US amidst the COVID-19 outbreak and shortage of face masks.
Face shields, different from face masks, are considered PPEs or Personal Protective Equipment and consist of a thin plastic sheet attached to an acrylic head piece. They are worn over the face to prevent droplets and other matter from getting onto the face of the wearer.
But PPEs are not the typical items produced by Simple and Sentimental. Owner Taylor Walden said that some of their most popular items are bridal gifts like tumblers, pajamas and more. They usually use their laser cutting machine to make custom acrylic items like cake toppers and signs.
“We were in a Facebook group with others who had the same machine and we saw that they were making PPEs so we thought it would be a good opportunity for us to try to do it too,” Walden said.
According to Simple and Sentimental’s Instagram page, after meeting their original fundraising goal of $5,000 dollars, they have set a new goal of $10,000. Originally a donation of $8 would make one face shield, but since they can now make bulk orders of materials they have brought the cost to make each shield down to $7.
Sarah Holland, an employee at Simple and Sentimental said she is glad to have the opportunity to serve and help during a time when the need is so great but everyone is being told to stay home and don’t all get that chance.
“It’s been a really awesome opportunity to be reminded of purpose with where we work. You know we make personalized gifts and our goal is to just help people celebrate those meaningful moments, and I think sometimes those meaningful moments are really hard moments,” Holland said. “So to be able to make these face shields it's just been an added purpose to coming to work.”
She also said that the community response that they have received has been sobering. They have been able to hear the stories of healthcare workers on the frontlines and she said the stories are heartbreaking.
“We’ve heard stories about people using Coke bottles to protect their faces or using face masks over and over and over again and just hoping that having a face shield could help that face mask stay effective longer,” Holland said.
As of Saturday, they had raised over $4,000 toward their goal, sending face shields to Vidant Medical Center in Greenville, Elmhurst Hospital in New York, and others across the country. Their GoFundMe page is set up to allow donors who give over $100 to choose the hospital they want the face shields sent to.
A friend of Walden’s and an ECU senior interior design major, Jordan Cates, said that he thinks it is great that Simple and Sentimental is using their resources for good.
“I think it’s amazing what she’s (Walden) is doing with her business and platform. The fact that she can use her small business to make such a huge impact is amazing and inspiring,” Cates said.
Donations can be made at their GoFundMe page. To get face shields sent to a specific hospital first make a donation of over $100 dollars, then Simple and Sentimental will message donors through GoFundMe to get the shipping address of the chosen hospital. For larger or corporate donations call or text (252)-320-9458 or email email@example.com to coordinate your donation.