SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – South Plainfield-based Kobo Products, Inc., a powder and dispersion company that manufacturers and distributes cosmetic and personal care raw materials, has been switching gears a bit the past few months in an effort to help fellow New Jerseyans and the fight against COVID-19.
Since April, the company, which operates five locations in the borough, has been manufacturing and donating hand sanitizer as well as tens of thousands of pieces of personal protection equipment (PPE) to those on the front line.
“The motivation comes from knowing you work at a company with the ethical capital and organization to make a difference,” said David Schlossman, president and owner of Kobo.
Using a formula approved by the World Healthcare Organization (WHO), Kobo purchased packaging for 6,000 1-gallon containers and 40,000-pint containers as well as 14,000 one-ounce bottles and the hope is to manufacture enough hand sanitizer to fill them all for donation.
“The challenge had been purchasing more isopropyl alcohol or ethanol to complete the WHO formula,” said Schlossman.
To date, Kobo has produced and donated over 1,500 gallons of hand sanitizer along with an additional 13,860 1-ounce spray bottles to county health organizations throughout the state.
Of those totals, 260 gallons and 2,464 spray bottles were distributed throughout Middlesex County; Bergen, Hudson, Essex, Morris, Passaic and Union counties have also received donations with the company setting out to donate hand sanitizer to every county in New Jersey by month’s end.
“Mr. Schlossman took it as far as to have mini spray bottles filled through an outside source at his expense to distribute to many of our local counties [and] our local Salvation Army in Plainfield,” said Marlene Algarin, customer service manager, in an email to TAPinto South Plainfield. “His thoughtfulness to do this touched me in such a way I felt I needed to reach out and felt he should be acknowledged for his kindness and giving back.”
Additionally, Kobo has also donated tens of thousands of pieces of personal protection equipment (PPE) from its own inventory and through companies it works with. As of press time, 13,000 masks and 21,600 or (10,800 pairs) of booties/shoe covers have also been donated to agencies within New Jersey’s hardest hit communities with 2,500 masks and 3,000 shoe coverings going to Middlesex agencies.
We tried to focus our PPE donations on those counties with higher numbers of cases as well as Middlesex County since that’s where we are based,” Kiory Parker, human resources/benefits coordinator for Kobo, adding, “While we may not be able to help everyone, hopefully by donating to the county organizations, they are able to better serve each community as a whole…Our hope is that our donations are getting to those in-need and making some small difference in the fight against COVID-19.”
Kobo’s donations, said Parker, have been a group effort with each and every department handling some aspect of the process.
“Most of our other departments have been directly involved in some capacity from our purchasing and planning departments sourcing PPE and ingredients for sanitizer, to our research and development departments creating the safety data sheets and helping with technical information, to our applications lab helping with formulations, etc.” she said, adding, “We hope to be able to manufacture enough to fill all of them for donation. It has been a challenge to locate and purchase the alcohol required in the formula.”
According to Schlossman, none of the donations would have been possible without the support of Kobo’s employees. “Ashley Bishop and Danielle Kennedy work in our purchasing department and they have worked tirelessly to source the material. Robert Eskay is the plant manager of the factory on Montrose Avenue and has been making the sanitizer daily,” he said. “Kiory Parker has done a masterful job directing donations to each county and getting our employees involved. Marlene Algarin has managed the logistics. It’s all a company effort.”
Parker added, “We asked for volunteers to drop off those donations, and got a great response from our employees. It is definitely a group effort for us with almost every single department having direct involvement in one part of the process or another.”
“I wish there was a camera in the bays. If you could have seen my face when staff called me out there. I got the chills. Holy Moly,” Helene Dougan, deputy coordinator of the Middlesex County Department of Public Safety and Health Office of Emergency Management & Preparedness, stated in an email to Kobo following a hand sanitizer delivery, noting that the donation will go to help first responders, long term care facilities, group homes, shelters and more. “I cannot even put into words how grateful we all are…Thank you so much for your generosity.”
Kobo Products, Inc. has five locations in South Plainfield in a three- mile radius with its corporate office located at 3474 South Clinton Avenue. For more information, visit www.koboproductsinc.com.
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