Collaborative effort launched to fund PPE production in Richmond

Richmond collab to fund, create PPEs for local residents, businesses
Fab Lab Richmond Manger Alex Fleming tries on a medical-grade face shield produced at the Fab Lab. Richmond at Kennedy High.

By Kathy Chouteau

A group of organizations and businesses in Richmond have teamed together with the mission of getting more personal protective equipment (PPE) in the hands of local residents and businesses that need it.

Through Sept. 30, the Travis Credit Union Foundation will match donations to the Richmond Main Street Initiative (RMSI) up to $20,000 with the aim of raising $40,000 in overall funding for PPE production during the pandemic.

Donations to the RMSI-led campaign will fund an all-local effort to manufacture the PPE. Pitching in will be Fab Lab Richmond at Kennedy High School, which in May began producing 3D-printed face shields via a partnership between Chevron and the Richmond Community Foundation; LeChat Nails, which will produce FDA-approved hand sanitizer; Five Star Cleaners, which will sew and cut cloth face masks; and Leftside Printing, which will print cloth face masks displaying a logo designed by a young local artist.

With the funding, RMSI estimates that it will be able to support the local community with approximately 3,000 branded cloth face masks, 3,000 bottles of hand sanitizer and 960 face shields. 

Richmond youth between the ages of 16-24 are eligible to submit original logo designs to adorn Leftside Printing’s face masks. The winning design will be printed on the face masks and the artist will be featured on RMSI’s digital platforms. The first 20 artists who submit designs will also have their creations printed on a T-shirt for free. Deadline for design submissions is Fri., Sept. 4. Learn more here.

“This campaign is about protecting lives and livelihoods,” said RMSI Executive Director Vivian Wong. “From speaking with our residents and businesses, we saw a need to increase access to PPE, create opportunities for local manufacturers to operate and engage youth in the campaign to slow the spread of COVID-19. This partnership with Travis Credit Union Foundation is a win-win three ways!”

Donations can be made here (select Richmond Main Street Initiative in the donation drop-down window) through Sept. 30.

It’s the latest effort by local businesses to boost the availability of PPE locally. Shortly after the shelter-in-place orders began in March, Falcon Spirits Distillery in Parchester Village began producing hand sanitizer for local first responders, and Greater American Dry Cleaners of El Cerrito and San Pablo started making masks to support both the community and its employees.