About / AIS Gives Back

AIS Partners with the United Way of North Central Massachusetts for its Sew The Masks Initiative to Support First Responders and Others at High Risk from COVID-19

(Leominster, MA) – May 28, 2020 – AIS  has partnered with the United Way of North Central Massachusetts as it continues its philanthropic initiative, Sew the Masks. The program’s goal to create and donate up to 1,000,000 high quality, washable and reusable face masks for first responders and others at high risk of infection during the COVID-19 pandemic remains.

The Sew the Masks campaign is mobilizing AIS sewing professionals as well as private, individual sewing enthusiasts – known as “Rosies” –  to create high-quality masks from AIS-sourced materials and donate them to healthcare providers, first responders, essential workers and others at risk in the fight against COVID-19.

“No healthcare worker, first responder or other front-line employee should be worried about access to personal protective equipment such as masks. Yet we continue to see mask shortages among the people most at risk of infection,” said Bruce Platzman, CEO of AIS.  “We strongly believe that high quality, comfortable, washable and reusable masks can make a big impact. And we are actively recruiting sewing enthusiasts across the country – along with corporate partners—to join this effort. Collaborate with AIS and the United Way and let’s collectively donate one million facemasks to those most in need.”

The Sew the Mask program has four simple steps:

Volunteer sewing enthusiasts – “The Rosies” – request a kit to sew 50 masks at www.sewthemasks.com. These kits ship directly from AIS with easy-to-follow instructions, precut materials and return packaging.

Completed masks are returned in the provided packaging to  AIS within 25-30 days.

AIS performs a quality check on every completed mask, and then ships boxes of masks to corporate sponsors and partners for distribution and donation within their own communities.

For every 10 facemasks a corporate sponsor donates, AIS will ensure a mask is donated to the United Way—providing this essential PPE for workers within their nationwide charitable network.

“We are proud to partner with AIS to provide these high-quality masks to those most in need. We think this initiative is an effective and creative way to rally the public, to create opportunities for volunteers to support their local community from the safety of their own homes, and for local businesses to engage in a meaningful effort to promote public safety during this unprecedented crises,” Kory Eng, President and CEO of the United Way of North Central Massachusetts shared.

AIS also allocated a production line of its employees in early April on the manufacturing floor to make these masks, featuring antimicrobial covers that repel moisture and a non-treated, comfortable inner layer filter of polypropylene. AIS masks are already helping protect healthcare workers at UMass Medical Center and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, as well as first responders around Massachusetts and others.

“Our company has donated thousands of these masks already to hospitals and first responders across Massachusetts. But the need is so great, we could never do alone what we can do with others. We are pleased to partner with the United Way of North Central Massachusetts, joining together as part of coordinated effort,” said Platzman. “We think there are many potential ‘Rosies’ out there ready to donate their skills and time to ensure high-quality PPE is there when these essential players need it. And we’re seeing many caring corporate citizens in New England and around the country wanting to partner with us to sponsor the effort to coordinate mask donations in their communities and across the United Way’s vast network.”

One of the illustrations featured in the original Rosie campaign artwork is a representation of a real life “Rosie”, MJ, who works at AIS as in shipping.  She has a deep compassion to help those around her. AIS was inspired by her effervescent energy, self-less dedication to others, and roll up your sleeves attitude as a role model for the program. Illustrations created by Lindsey Platzman.

For more information, to become a “Rosie” or to learn about corporate partnerships and sponsorship of mask creation and donations, visit www.sewthemasks.com.