United Way, Food Bank receive and distribute face shields



Boxes containing a total of 50,000 InstaShields were delivered to the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan in Flint on Aug. 27. Photos by Gary Gould

Boxes containing a total of 50,000 InstaShields were delivered to the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan in Flint on Aug. 27. Photos by Gary Gould

FLINT — The Food Bank of Easter Michigan received 50,000 face shields, Aug. 27, from the United Way of Genesee and Shiawassee counties.

InstaShield LLC and United Way are distributing 190,000 face shields to help protect essential workers, volunteers and partner organizations throughout Michigan.

This partnership represents the first 190,000 shields the company will donate as part of its Million-Shield Challenge – its pledge to donate one shield for each one sold on its website until it sells 1 million.

The shields were delivered to 10 Michigan United Ways and hundreds of partner agencies throughout the state.

The United Way of Genesee County has secured 50,000 shields – the most in the state – for distribution to nonprofit clients, small business, mass transportation and the deaf and hard of hearing community.

“We’re really excited with the donation of 50,000 face shields, being donated by the InstaShield company,” said James Gaskin, CEO of the United Way of Genesee and Shiawassee Counties. “This entrepreneurial venture is to create these shields here in the United States, and as part of the process for every shield purchased one is being donated and here in Michigan.”

Dan TenHoopen, left, with the Heart of West Michigan United Way, and James Gaskin, CEO of the United Way of Genesee and Shiawassee Counties, try on the new InstaShields.

Dan TenHoopen, left, with the Heart of West Michigan United Way, and James Gaskin, CEO of the United Way of Genesee and Shiawassee Counties, try on the new InstaShields.

He said Genesee and Shiawassee counties received 50,000 face shields to distribute to United Way partners across the community and they are working with the Food Bank to make that happen.

Distribution of the shields is in partnership with the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan. The 50,000 shields delivered to the FBEM were distributed throughout the community starting last week.

“We pride ourselves on our ability to quickly adapt our operations to serve the community during emergencies,” said Kara Ross, President and CEO of the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan. “Partnerships with organizations like the United Way are critical to our ability to meet those needs. Our team is well-prepared to efficiently distribute face shields to frontline organizations and workers in our community. We are grateful to the United Way and all of our partners for continuously working with us to meet all of the rapidly changing needs of the families we serve.”

InstaShield CEO Dan Brown, Jr. and his father, Dan Brown, Sr., created InstaShield in March after identifying America’s need for an effective, low-cost face shield that could be quickly manufactured in the U.S. to help families, businesses and frontline workers.

InstaShield’s streamlined design allows it to easily and securely attach to a comfortable baseball cap or visor without the use of straps or other unnecessary parts. InstaShield retails for $2.99.

“We created InstaShield to make a difference,” Brown, Jr. said. “United Way and its network are essential to getting the shields where they’re needed most. We’re humbled and honored to be part of the team.”

Gaskin said Genesee and Shiawassee counties have so many organizations this year that are looking for ways to help their communities be safe. So, the shields will be distributed to churches, the deaf and hard of hearing community, schools and small businesses that are all looking for added protection.

“This is a community that disproportionately struggles here. We wanted to make as many possible here as we could,” said Gaskin. “The Farmers Market is getting masks, the Communication Access Center, that works with the Deaf and Hard of Hearing are getting masks. The MTA with its Your Ride and programs.

“We knew we could use them if we could get them,” he said. “We’re super excited that Genesee and Shiawassee counties are going to get the biggest allotment of these across Michigan.”

Frontline organizations in need of shields should contact Stephanie Markland at 810-396-0253.