Last week, we reported on how Sanford’s Mertek Solutions had joined the fight against the Coronavirus pandemic by working to produce face shields with its 3D printer. Since then, several more have joined in.

You’ve probably seen that Coty has shifted part of its operation to the production of hand sanitizer, which it on Monday donated to several first responders in the region. From The Sanford Herald’s coverage:

The hand sanitizer will be donated to local hospitals and pharmacies. Bottles will be shipped through Coty’s normal distribution channels, to nurses, doctors, law enforcement and firefighters. Bottles will also be provided to Coty employees.

Each bottle has a label that reads, “Dedicated to 1st responders supporting our communities.” The bottles will go to “the people who are keeping us all going right now.”

Meanwhile, east Sanford’s This End Up Furniture has been able to divert some of its operations into the production of masks, according to the company’s Philip Kelly.

“During a crisis time like this we always try to find a way we can help,” he said. “Unfortunately as a furniture manufacturer there are rarely ways for us to do so.”

But Kelly said his father, who owns the company, heard a radio report about Jo-Ann Fabrics in Apex offering kits so that people could sew face masks. After a short call to Jo-Ann, This End Up was able to offer some basic upholstery material that met the company’s specifications. But that’s not where This End Up’s assistance ended.

An employee with This End Up Furniture cuts fabric for face masks. Photo courtesy of This End Up.

“In talking to the manager there, he said the biggest issue was cutting the material as they were not set up for large scale cutting,” Kelly told The Rant. “We made the arrangement for us to do the cutting they needed done as we have the capability to cut at production volumes. We had searched our inventory of fabrics and managed to find about 250 yards of 100 percent cotton upholstery fabric to donate as well.”

Kelly said they were able to cut 5,000 pieces and deliver them to Jo-Ann, and that they then got in touch with suppliers to see about sourcing more fabrics that would work best for mask production.

“A few days later, they gave us an answer, so we decided to purchase some fabric to make masks here. The fabric arrived Friday afternoon and we are getting set up to start cutting masks,” he said, noting that in the coming days they should have plenty of masks to donate and that they plan on supporting Lee and Moore counties as much as possible.

Finally, the Challenge Printing Company, located in Sanford’s Enterprise Park in the Deep River area, has begun producing “critical printed components for Choloroquine and Hydroxycholorquine, the drugs being tested by the FDA as treatments for COVID-19,” according to a press release issued on March 24. Challenge regularly produces printed pharmaceutical packaging for medications.

“We are humbled to contribute in the fight against COVID-19, bringing hope to millions of Americans”, said Chad Sasso, the company’s regional director. “I could not be prouder of our 124 Sanford employees who are on the front lines of manufacturing under unprecedented circumstances. Helping others goes to the core of who we are at Challenge Printing, and what we have always stood for.”