In the last couple of years, Kevin Dreyer, Maple Reinders’ IT Director, has picked up an interest for and hobby in 3D printing since purchasing one a little over one year ago. During this COVID-19 pandemic, Kevin was asked by a friend if he was capable of making ear savers with his machine having seen mention of them online. Kevin decided to print some for Credit Valley Hospital in Mississauga where his wife works. The first batch was only 20 units which prompted an order for 30 more units the very next day, and 50 more within 48 hours. While frontline workers have a massive appreciation for the ear savers (more than 3,000 ordered so far) this did not address the shortage of PPE and so began the research into 3D printing face shields.
The call was put out on social media to find more people with 3D printers to keep up with the demand that clearly could not be met by one machine and after 8,000 views did not produce any volunteers. So, a GoFundMe page was set up to raise funds to increase print capacity by purchasing two additional printers. The fundraiser exceeded 50% of the goal by the end of the first day and has now raised enough to purchase three printers that are less expensive and cover some of the cost of materials to date. At the end of this project, printers are being donated to two Christian grade schools for their STEM programs and the third one will be donated to the Meadowvale Cadets club where he is a counselor.
With the addition of a Facebook page and word getting around, the project has now added four community volunteers (with 8 more joining soon) that have machines to help fill the demand including Toronto District Christian school (Kevin Godber and his son), and a machine on loan from Kings Collegiate in Oakville (both schools are Maple clients). A group is also been set up online where people can volunteer their talents and resources including sewing face masks, 3D printing ear savers, crocheting ear savers, making deliveries, or pickups as needed.
On April 30, the call was put out online for unused digital photo frames and old unwanted tablets that could be used to help patients in hospital stay connected with their families, some donations have already been made and volunteers are already stepping up offering their time to sterilize the equipment and get it in proper working order so it can be brought to the hospital and screened by patient relations for safe entry and put to use.
“Thank you to Maple Reinders and everyone else who has supported us throughout this process. The demand keeps growing daily and without all the support and donations, it would have been near impossible to meet all these orders.”
The GoFundMe page remains online even though it has exceeded its target so that donations can continue to be made to assist with the cost of materials and any monies left over at the end will be donated to local food banks GoFundMe.com/f/covid19-ear-savers-and-faceshields