Creating Play & PPE
Since the onset of the pandemic, toy manufacturers have played a key role in supporting stay-at-home efforts, allowing children and families to continue playing and learning without having to leave the house. But some companies have also found ways to contribute to the fight against COVID-19 happening in hospitals around the country — by meeting the need for Personal
Top: Headbands from Spin Master’s Hedbanz game were used to fashion face shields for hospital workers and more Bottom: A face shield with polyethelene terephthalate inserted into a headband from Hedbanz
Protective Equipment (PPE) which has been in high demand since the spring. Read below to find out out how two companies converted their equipment and resources into crucial supplies for healthcare employees, while celebrating essential workers.
One of Spin Master’s most popular games with consumers in recent months (see Games and Puzzles feature, page 25) has proven to be useful in more ways than one. This past spring, Spin Master started producing face shields by inserting plastic (polyethelene terepthalate) into existing headbands from its guessing game, Hedbanz. “With a long history of giving back to the community, Spin Master employees wanted to find a way to help with the growing need for PPE for front-line healthcare workers,” says Tammy Smitham, Vice President, Communications and Corporate Citizenship at Spin Master. “With the urgent task at hand, the company’s product development team came up with an ingenious solution in just three days.” Once Spin Master had fashioned a prototype face shield, Smitham says, “an internal team of employees across all departments assembled quickly to reach out to hospitals, healthcare workers and charities, offering them the PPE, and then allocating and fulfilling. The company partnered with suppliers in Mexico to produce up to 20,000 units per day. “An internal team leveraged contacts from employees and reached out to organizations on the front lines of the COVID-19 response,” she adds. “The face shields were sent where they were desperately needed, including hospitals, nursing homes, women’s shelthers and homeless shelters.” As of July, over 350,000 face shields have been donated.
According to Mattel corporate communications, the company is currently leveraging its “expertise, products and resources to support communities, those in need and frontline heroes.” Mattel is partnering with healthcare institutions to provide PPE including cloth masks and face shields. As part of this effort, Mattel says it is producing and donating 500,000 face shields to medical professionals. Additionally, the company launched #ThankYouHeroes with Fisher-Price in April, the first program from its Play It Forward platform, which is intended to leverage Mattel brands to promote important causes. Designed to honor healthcare and other essential heroes, as well as drive donations, #ThankYouHeroes was eventually expanded to products from Matchbox, Mega Construx, and UNO. All net proceeds from the line went to #FirstRespondersFirst, an initiative created to support first responder healthcare workers serving on the frontlines of the pandemic. Barbie and American Girl have also launched #ThankYouHeroes programs to support the First Responders Children’s Foundation.
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