In a crisis, it’s often not clear what to do. The scale of a problem like COVID-19 is so big it’s hard to imagine how to make a difference. As a small, young startup trying to keep our team safe and employed while our sector experiences record economic devastation, we turned to our Core Values and the Renewal Workshop ethos to help us navigate through this crisis.
Partnerships are the heart of our business and in these challenging and scary times, we did what we know best, we found some new partners to team up with to do what we can, using what we have on hand to contribute to solving a hard problem.
The Renewal Workshop is working with our local community to manufacture single use isolation gowns for Healthcare providers in Oregon to be used as one important part of their Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
This project came about because frontline physicians and nurses have been asked to extend the use and/or reuse PPE that was meant to be single use and disposable. There is a critically severe shortage of PPE - it was just announced by the CDC that the National Stockpile has been depleted. These nurses and doctors have watched, in horror and true empathy, as their fellow colleagues all over the world are using garbage bags and duct tape as PPE.
We have converted about a third of our physical plant and half of our production capacity from renewing products to producing isolation gowns and masks in partnership with the nonprofit HMB50.org.
As in everything, we aim to be completely transparent about how we are working. We are being paid to cover the costs for the masks and gowns we make. We are not profiting from this partnership. We’re subsidizing production by covering facilities overhead, training, safety protocols, equipment and operational management. We’re using the funds we receive from manufacturing the gowns and masks to keep as many people employed as possible.
We’re doing what we can to help our community during these unprecedented times and we invite you to join us. HMB50.org is funded entirely by donations. You can learn more about the organization, who they are serving, and how to donate at HMB50.org. What our team has learned over the last few weeks is the most important thing is to find some small way to help, to live our core value of service. We welcome you to join in this effort with us or to find a way to help in your own community. There is no shortage of need right now.
We also have to remember that there is no shortage of good work and kindness to meet that need. At a time when we are physically isolated from each other and we feel powerless in the face of an invisible enemy, it is even more important than ever to remind ourselves of the power of connection.