A Los Angeles-based shoemaker has launched a campaign to mobilize an effort to produce masks for medical workers in hospitals during the coronavirus crisis.
Tieks by Gavrieli retooled its facility, bought a fleet of sewing machines and retrained employees to create masks that could immediately be donated to local hospitals, according to the company.
The shoemaker has also called on its customers to become involved in “Operation #SewTogether, in which it is offering $50 gift cards for every 25 masks sewn and $100 gift cards for every 50 masks.
The company has created an online resource — tieks.com/sewtogether — that solicits donations of masks and offers detailed instructions on how to make them at home.
The homemade masks, which can be sewn by hand or machine and should be double-layered and made with pre-washed cotton, will be used by medical providers treating non-coronavirus patients to free up the supply of medical-grade masks for doctors and nurses treating patients diagnosed with coronavirus, according to the company’s website.
Thousands of masks are already on their way to hospitals and clinics within 24 hours of the campaign being launched, according to Kfir Gavrieli, the company’s CEO.
“Overnight, we have managed to create a work-from-home factory with thousands of amazing members of our Tieks family, who have mobilized to pump out hundreds of thousands of masks,” Gavrieli said. “As soon as I learned of this coming shortage, I knew we had a responsibility to reorient our business to get masks into the hands of those who need them most. We’ve seen the tremendous power of our Tieks community many times before, but the response so far has been beyond anything I could have imagined.”
Gavrieli said he learned of the shortage of medical masks through a friend whose sister is a frontline medical provider.
Tieks will also be making a cash donation to get additional masks from suppliers overseas, according to the company.