AST Sportswear, Inc. (PPAI 213713, S4), has pledged to use its manufacturing facility in Brea, California, to produce and donate health masks to hospitals facing shortages across the U.S. The company also plans on utilizing their own 100-percent cotton fabric that they source in the U.S. to produce the masks.

“After learning about the drastic shortages of masks in hospitals and hearing that some health care professionals started putting together makeshift masks out of little pieces of paper, I knew it was our responsibility as a community to help those on the frontlines helping our fellow Americans,” says AST Sportswear Chief Operating Officer Abdul Rashid.

Zahir Dadabhoy, AST’s chief financial officer, says, “A segment on CNN showed hospitals in Seattle running out of masks, and the staff had started making masks out of office supplies. That really touched him and Abdul came in with the plan to make some masks. Within a couple hours we had prototypes created and the plan was fully executed. We have already shipped our first runs from production.”

To help gain traction on having these masks readily available, AST Sportswear, Inc. has gone into production immediately, converting some production lines and using fabric resources originally designated for their apparel, and prioritizing labor to producing masks for those in need. These masks, crafted of 100-percent U.S. grown cotton, are breathable, washable and will come in an assortment of colors.

“We have dedicated some of our sales staff to call hospitals and offer masks; we are donating masks directly to hospitals and medical facilities at no charge,” says Dadabhoy. “These are 100-percent cotton masks that are not medical grade. We make sure every hospital [we] speak [with] are aware of what type of masks these are and many are grateful to be able to provide their staff with some protection.”

He adds, “Distributors can participate by reaching out to hospitals and letting them know that AST is donating cotton masks. We are only making donations directly to hospitals to make sure our frontline medical staff are being protected. Distributors can also purchase these masks from us but priority will be given to hospital donations.”