Ardent Displays Press Release - March 26, 2020
SENATORS ANWAR, HASKELL CHEER EAST HARTFORD PACKAGING GROUP FOR MANUFACTURING, DONATING FACE SHIELDS TO PROTECT HEALTH CARE WORKERS
EAST HARTFORD – After making a public call this week for businesses to find ways to support local health care workers through donating any personal protective equipment available to them, State Senators Saud Anwar (D-South Windsor) and Will Haskell (D-Westport) are cheering an East Hartford packaging group for taking extreme steps to protect workers on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic. Ardent Display Group of East Hartford, in less than a week, has designed and begun the manufacturing of plastic face shields and plans to donate 10,000 to local hospitals and care facilities. Ardent's companies produce store displays and fixtures, digital signage and food packaging; the company can design, engineer, tool and manufacture all in house.
"I was horrified to see an online post over the weekend from Dr. Anwar, our State Senator and a pulmonologist, showing a physician using a plastic bag as a shield over his face," said Donald Budnick, President and CEO of Ardent. Budnick was inspired by Sen. Anwar's challenge to entrepreneurs to find ways to fight shortages of critical PPEs, or personal protection equipment, in the medical community.
Budnick, his son Justin and members of the Ardent team who shared concerns about PPE shortages discussed the matter, and after Ardent team member Chris Meyer suggested the company could make face shields themselves, staff began designing ways they could create PPEs in-house. After material sourcing on Monday, creating prototypes Tuesday and reviewing details with doctors Wednesday, production on the PPE equipment begins today.
Budnick hopes to manufacture 32,000 face shields daily. The first 10,000 face shields will be donated to local hospitals. After those donations, future face shields will be produced and sold at cost until material supplies run out or the COVID-19 outbreak passes.
"The incredible innovation and selfless dedication to the local community Ardent is showing through these donations that we can all make a difference during these difficult times," said Sen. Anwar. "As a medical doctor myself, I know firsthand the value of PPEs and the potential harm these product shortages can cause. I am thankful to Donald, Justin, Chris and all of the members of the Ardent team for working to help save lives and hope other companies can follow suit."
"Connecticut is rising to the challenge of COVID-1," said Sen. Haskell. "I am so proud of Ardent and its leaders for taking these brave and selfless steps to assist local health care workers, who need protection in these most important days of the outbreak. We need healthy doctors and health care professionals. These shields will help keep them safe. Ardent is setting an example that we should all be proud of."
Companies are responding to PPE shortages statewide. In addition to Ardent's manufacturing of face shields, East Hartford's NEFCO Corporation donated thousands of N95 respirators to local hospitals this week. Governor Ned Lamont announced Monday that Gil's Drywall of Plainville and PW Power Systems of Glastonbury have also donated N95 respirators to state hospitals.
Businesses with supplies available for donation should contact the Department of Public Health to see the best ways to make such donations. The Department of Public Health has created an online form for members of the public, businesses and philanthropic organizations interested in making these donations at www.211ct.org/DonationsCOVID19. The state is partnering with nonprofit United Way 2-1-1 of Connecticut to collect information and supplies.
Fundraising for Face Shield Donation Efforts
On the morning of April 6th, Ardent announced a number of fundraising campaigns to keep the donation of free face shields flowing to health care facilities and first responders. The goal is to protect the men and women working tirelessly to protect our communities during this epidemic. Any contributions to help aid this effort would be incredibly appreciated, both by our team here at Ardent Displays and most importantly by the teams working on the front lines standing between us and this virus.
One is a GoFundMe campaign targeting first responders across the state of Connecticut. Ardent has committed to raising $60,000 which will be used to manufacture and distribute 50,000 free face shields to Connecticut State Police, local police departments and local fire departments. Distribution assistance will be provided by the Connecticut Division of Emergency Management and Homeland Security. If you or someone you know have the means to contribute, please visit Our GoFundMe Page.
A second campaign is for individuals and organizations that want to make a donation to a designated healthcare group. A carton of 500 face shields can be sent to a hospital, residential facility or other destination for $595.00 plus shipping. Some donors have elected to distribute them personally to organizations in their community. Each carton contains 5 boxes of 100 face shields. Each of these boxes can be customized with a sticker identifying the donor. Use PPE@ArdentDisplays.com to explore this option.