Goodwill South Florida has converted a portion of its sewing operations to manufacture 20,000 masks for employees at Miami’s Ryder System (NYSE: R), a global transportation and logistics company, to wear as they support the flow of essential goods and services needed in the fight against COVID-19.
“James Ryder was one of three founders of Goodwill some 60 years ago, so when we got the call from Ryder asking if we could help produce scarce personal protective equipment for their employees, we immediately sprang into action,” said David Landsberg, CEO of Goodwill South Florida.
When Goodwill celebrated its 60th anniversary, the two partners announced a multi-year partnership and established the “Ryder Apparel Manufacturing Division” at Goodwill South Florida’s headquarters. Inside the facility, people with disabilities and other barriers to employment typically manufacture U.S. Army, Navy, and Air Force uniforms, as well as interment flags for military veterans.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic, most of the operations have been shuttered, but Goodwill recently opened a portion of its production capabilities to produce much-needed personal protective equipment for local hospitals and frontline workers. The masks for Ryder are made with camouflage on the outside, a softer fabric on the inside, and elastic ear loops.
“The men and women of Ryder are working day and night to make sure the essential products and services get to where they need to be for all of us and our families during this challenging time,” said Heather Gatley, VP & Deputy General Counsel for Ryder, and a member of the board of directors for Goodwill South Florida. “We are thankful for the expertise of Goodwill in being able to quickly ramp up their sewing operations to make face masks to further protect the health and safety of our truck drivers, warehouse workers, technicians in the shop, and rental counter employees.”
Goodwill South Florida is taking measures to ensure the safety of the employees who are working to produce PPE by having the facilities sanitized regularly, placing sewing machines at a distance of six feet apart, and installing vinyl partitions between workstations. Also, staff nurses take daily temperatures and provide masks and hand sanitizers to each dedicated Goodwill employee entering the facility.