As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, Life Fitness employees aren’t just focused on making cardio and strength equipment these days. They also are focused on sewing masks.
The Life Fitness facilities in Owatonna, Minnesota; Ramsey, Minnesota; Falmouth, Kentucky, and Kiskőrös, Hungary, are sewing non-surgical cloth masks to be donated to local healthcare facilities and communities in need as well as building an inventory of masks for Life Fitness team members, according to the company.
Collectively, Life Fitness has produced more than 3,000 masks and has the capacity to produce tens of thousands of masks across the company’s global manufacturing footprint.
“Without proper protection, our healthcare workers are at risk as they provide care and support for people during this health crisis,” Chris Clawson, CEO of Life Fitness, said. “At Life Fitness, our mission is to inspire healthier lives, and we are proud to do our part by sewing masks in our manufacturing facilities to support the health and well-being of the courageous workers on the front lines.”
The initiative started in Owatonna when two Life Fitness employees—Lisa Boyd, safety and documentation coordinator, and Kris Morgan, human resources coordinator—volunteered to sew masks on their own to the specifications of Allina Health, a healthcare provider in Minnesota. After hearing about their idea, Life Fitness offered Boyd and Morgan the plant’s upholstery department to sew greater quantities of masks. The masks are being donated to local healthcare facilities, including the Owatonna Hospital and several assisted living facilities, in addition to being distributed to Life Fitness team members.
“We have donated masks to our local hospital, as well as several assisted living facilities in Owatonna, Minnesota. They are all so very appreciative,” Morgan said. “The joy in their eyes and voices when they receive the masks is incredibly humbling, and we always thank them for all that they are doing to keep our community safe.”
Mask production in Owatonna started on March 30. The other Life Fitness facilities are beginning to ramp up production and donations over the coming weeks.
That doesn’t mean the plants aren’t still manufacturing fitness equipment, but a small team of employees working in the upholstery departments at each facility are now dedicated to sewing masks.
Life Fitness is developing a model where businesses can purchase Life Fitness masks with associated profits being donated to COVID-19 relief charities.
Life Fitness employees have been responsible for delivering mask donations to healthcare facilities and throughout the community.
“I was able to personally donate to the care facility where my daughter works, and they were so grateful for a local company to step up and give back to the community,” Boyd said.
Production of the masks will continue as long as there is a need, Life Fitness said.