NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – A manufacturing company has donated 25,000 face masks to the City of North Charleston which will be distributed to the community.

City leaders on Wednesday said AIS, a Massachusetts-based office furniture manufacturer, donated the high-quality face masks to the city as part of the company’s nationwide program to support cities in need with personal protective equipment.

“We are extremely grateful for the generosity of AIS and its President and CEO Bruce Platzman, as there is no question that this nationwide charitable initiative has saved lives,” said North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey. 

Summey said the substantial donation of reusable masks will go a long way in further protecting the North Charleston community from the spread of COVID-19.

“We hope the vast majority of our region and country has the opportunity to be vaccinated against COVID-19 in the near future, but until then, making testing readily available, social distancing, washing hands, and wearing proper face coverings remains imperative,” he said.

Those interested in receiving one of the free masks can visit the Felix Davis Community Center, the Northwoods Community Center, or the North Charleston Athletic Center beginning Thursday until the masks are gone.

Additionally, city leaders say North Charleston Police Department Neighborhood Resource Officers will distribute masks in key areas with vulnerable populations. School Resource Officers will distribute masks in North Charleston area schools.

“No citizen should be worried about access to personal protective equipment as we continue to fight this pandemic,” said AIS President and CEO Bruce Platzman. “We are grateful to the City of North Charleston who partnered with us to be able to support the community with these high-quality, comfortable and reusable masks.”

According to a news release from the city, AIS began making high-quality face masks – using antimicrobial fabrics and other premium materials – when the COVID-19 pandemic intensified last spring.

In May 2020, the company established the nationwide Sew the Masks initiative – activating internal production lines and close to 1,000 volunteer ‘Rosies’ in 45 states to create masks at their home sewing machines for donation and distribution to first responders, frontline workers and other people in need.

AIS has been donating facemasks for the past 10 months to non-profit organizations in nearly 50 states.