When the COVID-19 pandemic began, Amy Simpson, a District 202 teacher of the visually impaired, and her husband Matt Simpson, searched for ways to help the community.
It quickly became apparent there was a high demand for face masks and face shields, so the Simpsons researched ways to use their three, 3D printers to make face shields.
The Simpsons focused on making face shields because they already had most of the materials needed and they last longer than face masks, Matt said.
They researched different versions of face shields before landing on one using rubber bands rather than elastic, which is hard to come by because of the high demand for face shields, Matt Simpson said.
“The use of rubber bands gives you the ability to adjust how the face shield fits your head size and hairstyle,” Matt added. “Our biggest concern was how well the face shields fit because some of the healthcare workers have to wear them for 10 hours, so we wanted them to be comfortable.”
With the spike of demand for face shields, the Simpsons also invested their own money into a fourth 3D printer to increase production.
For the first few weeks, the Simpsons covered the costs of materials for the face shields themselves. But as demand grew, they started a GoFundMe page to raise money strictly for materials, Amy said.
As word spread, the Simpsons raised more than $1,500 to buy materials to make face shields and face mask ear guards. After raising enough money to cover materials for the next few weeks, the Simpsons turned off donations while they catch up on production, Amy said.
“We did not expect the outpouring of support that we received from the community when we created the GoFundMe page,” Amy added.
To date, the Simpsons have printed and donated more than 500 face shields and 200 face mask ear guards to frontline workers at 11 hospitals, three fire departments and three companies with workers that face the public, Matt said.
The Simpsons will continue making face shields and face mask ear guards until there is no longer a need.