While 3M doubles production on N95 surgical masks and manufacturers of everything from computer gear to wood veneers jump into production on the face shields needed by health care providers, Love Your Melon is focusing on the customers at the heart of its mission: children battling cancer.
The Minneapolis-based knitwear brand, which rose to popularity on its mission of donating beanies to pediatric cancer patients, is making cotton fabric face masks designed to serve as an additional line of defense against Covid-19 for young patients and their parents. The company pledged 50,000 masks over the next two weeks. They will be donated to children’s hospitals, care facilities, and nonprofits around the country that support children with cancer, who are at high risk during the coronavirus pandemic.
“As PPG (personal protective gear) is scarce for health care workers, it’s nearly inaccessible for patients. It’s important for us to provide these, not only because of our mission to help children battling cancer but also because we have the capability based on manufacturing products at volume in the U.S.,” LYM co-founder and president Zachary Quinn said. “Our manufacturers are proud to support these efforts and are doing them at cost while employing people who would otherwise be unemployed right now.”
LYM’s manufacturing partners include Minnesota Knitting Mills, Softline Brand Partners, Maine Heritage Weavers, 212 New York, and several others.
Over the past two weeks as coronavirus cases have mounted in the U.S., Quinn said the LYM team has been trying to find a way to help. Its current capabilities don’t meet medical-grade requirements. But M Health Fairview suggested patient masks.
“The cotton face masks we’re making are the best we can provide at this time,” Quinn said. Made with tightly woven cotton, the masks are machine washable and reusable. “They’re added protection from droplets and provide comfort and security to kids and families.”
LYM will continue to monitor hospital needs, Quinn said. The company is thinking about ways it could transition into production of items for frontline health care providers.
Along with face masks, LYM is shipping care packages filled with coloring books, LEGOs, and super hero costumes to kids stuck in the hospital at a time when activity centers and playrooms are closed and visitors are limited due to Covid-19. A newly created page on the LYM website features educational programs, apps and resources to keep kids engaged.