UniFirst Corporation, a provider of customized work uniform programs, corporate attire, and facility service products, in partnership with the Office of the Lieutenant Governor of Washington State and the City of Seattle, announced its participation in the Washington Mask Challenge, a statewide initiative encouraging Washingtonians to make, wear, and donate cloth face masks. As an in-kind donation, UniFirst has begun collecting and cleaning donated cloth face masks at the company’s hygienic laundering facility in Puyallup, Washington, before delivering them to the City of Seattle for distribution.
The Washington Mask Challenge was launched in late April by Lieutenant Governor Cyrus Habib to help stop the spread of the novel coronavirus. With support from United Ways of the Pacific Northwest and Serve Washington, the Washington Mask Challenge matches mask donors with organizations with the most urgent need for cloth face coverings, including nursing homes, homeless shelters, grocery stores, food banks, and other organizations that serve the elderly or otherwise vulnerable populations.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted some major weaknesses in our nation’s ability to respond to a health crisis of this magnitude,” said Lt. Governor Cyrus Habib. “But many local partners have stepped up to fill that need, and UniFirst is one of them. Thanks to their extraordinary efforts, we have been able to sanitize thousands of cloth face masks and distribute them to the essential workers who need them the most. They have my deep gratitude.”
To date, UniFirst has accepted and sanitized more than 3,000 face masks from donors across the state, which have been distributed to Sound Generations (Meals on Wheels) and various homeless shelters in King County.
“When first approached about participating in the Washington Mask Challenge, without hesitation, our employee Team Partners in Puyallup jumped at the opportunity to volunteer our services to this worthy cause,” said Steven Sintros, president and CEO of UniFirst. “Our company was founded on a commitment to serving others, which today is important as ever. It’s an honor to give back to communities across the State of Washington in this way.”