Ad hoc group manufacturing face shields for medical, other workers

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Hospital grade face shields wait in the bed of a pick-up truck to be delivered by Project Face Sheild members. Valley News/Jacqui Dobens photo

MURRIETA – An informal, or ad hoc, group of southwest Riverside County citizens has banded together to provide face shields for health care workers and others. The demand is growing as more businesses open and schools plan for the coming year, the group said.

Some members of the group are teachers, instructors in high school engineering classes, students – former and present – while others are interested, caring individuals who want to be involved in helping those who need help with medically approved gear during the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Murrieta Rotary Club and Project Face Shield member Patsy Orr prepares to deliver face shields to a local business. Valley News/Jacqui Dobens photo

More helpers are needed. Project Face Shield seeks those who have and can operate 3D printers and funds to purchase needed supplies. To help, visit http://faceshieldproject.murrietarotaryclub.com.

“To date, some 800 face shields have been delivered with most going to Universal Health Services (operators of Rancho Springs Medical Center and Inland Valley Medical Center,)” Valerie Backus, coordinator of Career and Technical Education at Murrieta Valley Unified School District, said.

Carlos Dhayer of Paradise Hyperbarics poses in a face shield delivered to the business by Project Face Shield. Valley News/Jacqui Dobens photo

Backus launched Project Face Shield in early April, inspired by associates in the Coachella Valley. The group sent face shields to the city of Wildomar, Hospice of the Valley, Renaissance Village, Dr. Larry Hoyt and iCARE, Paradise Hyperbarics, among others. The Murrieta Wildomar Chamber of Commerce is making face shields part of their “Back to Business” kit being distributed in Murrieta and Wildomar.

The Rotary Club of Murrieta joined the growing effort and has provided funds to purchase supplies for the production of the face shields, along with transporting the supplies to those who need them.

The city of Murrieta, Murrieta Innovation Center, Murrieta Valley Unified School District’s CTE department, Murrieta Library, Murrieta Valley High School’s engineering and robotics department, Jon’s Movers, Temecula-Murrieta Software Developers Meetup and Civilized Frontier have also joined in the community effort.

Rotary president Jacqui Dobens said Rotary’s face shield funds came from the club’s annual Murrieta Field of Honor/Patriots Event and from a special pandemic grant from The Rotary Foundation.

Kathy Gharda poses for a photo after delivering face shields as part of Project Face Shield to Hoyt Dental in in Murrieta. Valley News/Jacqui Dobens photo

The shields are manufactured by individuals in their homes located in Murrieta, Temecula, Wildomar and Lake Elsinore. Several current and former CTE students who have 3D printers at home are contributing, Backus said.

“We continue to have requests for more face shields,” Dobens said, having received a request from the Riverside County Medical Association for 2,000 shields that will go to doctors’ offices throughout the county.

The Murrieta Valley Unified School District also inquired about obtaining supplies for making face shields.

“We are in need of the raw materials and are seeking donations to keep the manufacturing process continuing.  Needed are the 3D printer filament to make the reusable visors. Color is good, preferred by hospital workers, transparencies, buttonhole elastic band and transportation assistance. And, we need more people to help in the production,” Dobens said.

Submitted by Rotary Club of Murrieta.