Communities Rise Against COVID-19 through Volunteerism

During these turbulent times, the strength of the community and volunteerism has increased tremendously. Businesses, manufacturers, organizations, and educational facilities are standing together to assist in the fight against COVID-19 by volunteering their time and resources in creating items that are desperately needed by businesses, hospitals, healthcare facilities, and by first responders. The stories below only represent a small portion of volunteerism that has been occurring since the spread of the pandemic. However, these stories reveal the leadership and benevolence found behind the scenes of companies, organizations, and people. We thank all of those that are helping to combat the spread of COVID-19 and hope that everyone stays healthy.

Image by Monin, Inc.
Flavor manufacturer, MONIN’s very essence is built on developing flavors for culinary practice and thus reflects the need to serve by delivering syrups to their customers whether they are a child trying to build a foundation for a cupcake stand or an individual trying to craft a drink for fun. However, many have underestimated the great lengths that MONIN would go through to serve the community when news spread that the company ventured out of the flavor industry to develop their very own hand sanitizer to help meet the community’s needs. So far 3,200 bottles with 80% alcohol have already been made with another 5,000 in production! Hundreds of cases of hand sanitizer have already been donated to first responders, and to the hospitality and service industries. Check out MONIN’s twitter feed for a news press release and a quick interview with Jonathan Jones, Chief Supply Chain Officer.

Image by GE Healthcare
Another local manufacturer, Southern Manufacturing Technologies (SMT) faces high demand on valve housings which are used to produce ventilators for COVID-19 patients! So far SMT has received an order of 30,000 valve housings and has produced approximately 4,000 pieces each month beginning in March. However, plans have been made by SMT to double their production in May by investing $70,000 to upgrade their machines in order to meet the high demand. These valve housings are cubed shaped and exactly 2 ¼ inches wide. The picture provided shows the inside of a ventilator, and inside the white plastic containers is where SMT’s valve housing can be found.

To ensure the safety of their employees, SMT has rented a separate building, scheduled consistent cleaning and sanitizing requests for their buildings, and has staggered shifts for their workers to ensure everyone can practice physical distance in a clean environment while working. You can read more about this on Hillsborough County’s Website.

AMRoC Fab Lab and the Foundation for Community Driven Innovation (FCDI) in collaboration with MRG 3D’s main facility are coordinating local remote personnel and organizations to 3D print MRG 3D Halo Face Shields for hospitals, health care facilities, first responders, and more! MRG 3D is able to produce between 450 to 600 prints a day using 14 printers and approximately 200 additional prints were donated by local volunteers. In the latest update, AMRoC and FCDI reported over 13,000 face shields have been donated and five new volunteers have recently joined bringing the total to 25 partners running approximately 50 3D printers. However, demand still exceeds production with requests reaching an average of 6,000 per week. In addition, with the constant use of the 3D machines, maintenance costs are beginning to stack. To confront this issue, MRG 3D and AMRoC are currently accepting donations! If you wish to assist in this cause, visit MRG 3D’s Facebook group and AMRoC’s website.

Left image provided by HCC and right image provided by

Among those contributing to the Face Shield project in the Tampa Bay area is Hillsborough Community College (HCC). Located at the Brandon Campus, is the Engineering Technology (ET) Department whose role is to develop the future high skilled workforce through their ET A.S. Degree Program. Their lab area contains three 3D printers that have been repurposed to printing the PRUSA designed 3D headbands for the Halo Face Shields. HCC’s Engineering Technology Department instructors, Shirley Dobbins and Ron Smith, and lab assistant, Neil O’Malley, are dedicated to serving the community and continue to work hard in printing the headbands. Currently, shields have been donated to Advent Health, children’s hospitals, Hillsborough County Fire Rescue, Tampa Fire Rescue, and more.

Image by SME
However, community-driven projects are not only limited to Florida. Demand for swabs has exceeded 10 million and current manufacturers cannot meet the demand. After a plea from a local Florida hospital, USF Health, Formlabs, and Northwell Health formed a partnership that has crossed state lines in order to produce a solution; 3D printed swabs. After several clinical trials with various 3D designs, Formlabs repurposed its Ohio facility to printing the winning swab’s design and they are able to produce 100,000 swabs a day. Formlabs continues to watch the needs of the healthcare system and plans to create adaptors that can convert CPAP and BiPAP machines to ventilators, and splitters that allow ventilators to serve two or more patients. Read the full SME article by clicking here.

We know that many educational facilities, organizations, businesses, and community groups are helping to support our medical teams and first responders.  If you are working on anything that supports these efforts and want to share, please let us know. For questions or concerns about this article contact

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