Hawaii’s Sum Corp Behind The “Mask The Nurses Project” – A Little Help To The Front Liners – The Spirit of Aloha

“Heroic Acts or Acts of Kindness are Spontaneous, not preconceived”
– Anonymous

Honolulu, Hawaii – June 9, 2020 – Sum Corp is a small and family-owned contracting business in Hawaiian apparel. COVID-19 has changed people’s lives, and Sum Corp took no exemption. The governor’s Lockdown and Stay-Home orders instantly closed down businesses, and Sum Corp had to close shop. The fear of economic uncertainly set in. Corona virus spread so rapidly across the country that caused a national crisis due to the shortage of PPEs for healthcare workers. Nurses and other healthcare workers were courageously facing the battle. They were on higher risk for exposure to infection risking their own safety and their families. 

Responding to Crisis: My brother Ramon was in the Philippines when Taal Volcano erupted. He travelled with friends under sulfuric clouds to bring relief goods to an evacuation center. Upon his return to Hawaii, it was not surprising when he asked sister Carmen if she could make barrier masks for the nurses. At first Carmen was unresponsive because of the bigger concern how to get through this lockdown with mortgage, bills and rent to pay. 

Ramon is a registered nurse and he is a member of a national nursing organization of Filipino-American nurses. He felt the great need to send a little help to his fellow nurses at the front lines. A barrier mask worn over the N-95 would extend the serviceability of N-95. Carmen designed a 3-play barrier mask with non-woven fabric in the middle acting like filter. It was agreed that this initiative was the family’s way to help the heroes at the frontlines. The recipients would be taking care of the shipping. There was no price tag placed on the masks, but donation would be graciously accepted. 

Spreading the Aloha Spirit: “A Little Help for the Front Liners”. While Carmen, Bernadette and I were ramping up production, Ramon handled the coordination and shipment of orders. With incredibly positive feedbacks, it felt gratifying that nurses loved our masks despite of our own impending economic and financial woes. We were happy at the back line sending a little help to the front lines that even lucrative offer to produce masks commercially was turned down. Masks were given relatives on the mainland and to the neighborhood. 

The nursing organization wanted an initiative how to show compassion to members during this challenging time. “Mask the Nurses” was the initial project to provide a couple of masks to each member. Sum Corps was invited for bidding. With Lorna’s help browsing for price comparisons, proposal was submitted. This could had been an opportunity for an economic relief, but the initiative started as “little help for the front liners” should end that way. Thus, the proposal was sent with the lowest price at $12.00 per pack of 2 to include the postage. 

Production, Packaging and Shipping Challenges: Sum Corp makes many Hawaiian dresses for all sizes and ages. To mass produce 10,000 masks could be a daunting task. The organization would order about 2,500 masks every week in four weeks. I was not sure if our seamstresses would come to work with the fear of exposure. Due to Lockdown, elastic bands and the nonwoven fabric had to be ordered from the mainland and delivered in 3-4 weeks. Fortunately, Carmen came to the rescue by calling her networks who were so very generous to share their stocks. In the bidding, a dollar was added for postage. Based on Ramon’s experience, a 2-ounce package would only costs $.70-$1.20.

A trial shipping was done and the postage was $4.60. There is no way that Sum Corp would absorb the $3.60 difference. The postal clerk clarified that if a package would pass through the 1/4-inch hole, the charge should not be as parcel. Ramon and Joseph worked on flattening the package manually to meet the ¼ inch postal requirement. The first batch of 2,200 masks put the entire family to work. Nieces Brianna and Ashley worked on the mailing labels, while the masks were carefully folded and placed in the plastic bag, followed by the organizational message. The task became tedious. The first batch of masks, about 1,100 packages were ready for shipment. 

The second of week of production was stressful and very tense. What if the postage was not enough? If not enough, there was no way to know immediately because the organization’s address on the mainland was used as return address. A scary thought. We had to wait 3-4 days if the addressees have received their packages. 

We Believe. We Achieve… Success 

As the Second Batch was ready for shipment, lo and behold, acknowledgments of receipt started to come in. The messages touched my heart and couldn’t help but tears of joy rolled down. There was no returned package reported. My confidence was overflowing that the next shipments would be smooth. 

On behalf of SUM CORP, my heartfelt gratitude goes to the nursing organization for this opportunity. We are proud to be a part of a noble project: “a gift of compassion” for the front liner members. To my family, Carmen, Bernadette, Joseph, Rouella, Ashley and Brianna, as always through thick and thin, mahalo for a great family teamwork. Even our eldest sister Benny helped out sticking the stamps and labels despite of her arthritic fingers. Special thanks to our hardworking staff for their courage to withstand the threats of this virus. 

Sum Corp is beaming with great pride to have produced over 12,000. Many thanks to Lorna for always helping with resources and guidance. And to our HERO, our brother Ramon, thank you for being so forward thinking and responsive to situations. He answered unflinchingly with great pride and honor the CALL OF DUTY to serve our great nation again.” To the Creator Above for giving us always courage as we KEEP our FAITH. 

For complete information, visit: http://lyricgermaine978.mystrikingly.com/

Media Contact
Company Name: Sum Corp
Contact Person: Gloria Sumibcay
Email: Send Email
Phone: 808.489.7148
City: Honolulu
State: Hawaii
Country: United States
Website: lyricgermaine978.mystrikingly.com/