UniFirst Corporation has spent the summer supporting small business revitalization in regions across the United States, Mexico, and Canada through a comprehensive donation totaling more than 250,000 protective face masks, according to a news release.
As state lockdowns are lifted, businesses across the country have been eager to get back to work — but many small business owners have been disproportionately struggling to source and provide their staff with the necessary personal protective equipment (PPE) required to meet government guidelines and open safely. In support of these communities, UniFirst partnered with chambers of commerce and organizations in over 25 regions to identify businesses most in need, donating masks and hand sanitizer in an effort to help keep local economies up and running.
“UniFirst started as a small family-owned business in Boston, Massachusetts 84 years ago, so we understand the struggles of running a business, particularly in challenging times,” says Cynthia Croatti, UniFirst executive vice president. “When the pandemic hit and we saw the devastating impact it was having on small businesses, we jumped at the opportunity to help them safely reopen their doors and contribute to restarting the economy.”
Upon receiving the mask donation, each regional chamber of commerce and partner organization was given the opportunity to divide and share the masks with businesses of their choosing. In many markets, donations of PPE make the difference in whether or not a business is able to reopen. “If our local companies don’t have access to PPE, they can’t re-open and do business,” says Mark Owens, president and CEO of Greater Winston-Salem, Inc., a donation recipient. “So, by providing this donation, UniFirst is literally opening businesses and keeping people safe at the same time.”
“These businesses are the everyday heroes on the front lines of the pandemic,” Steven Sintros, UniFirst president and CEO, adds. “They need our support more than ever. It’s been incredible to not only see the reach of our donation, but the call-to-action it raised for other businesses in each of these communities to generously give and support as well.”