BREA (CBSLA) — When all the orders came to a crashing halt last week, Abdul Rashid chose to pivot in the face of panic.

Rashid bought all new equipment and trained his 500 workers to make only 100 percent, three-layer cotton masks for medical personnel and first responders — all for free.

“I chose to keep my employees employed and do something for them and their families, ” said Rashid, who owns the largest T-shirt manufacturing company in the country.

In order to do this, he had to transform his businesses from non-essential to critical overnight. So, Rashid bought all new equipment and trained his 500 workers to make only 100 percent, three-layer cotton masks for medical personnel and first responders — all for free.

“These are not the N95 masks they’re talking about. These are cotton masks that are washable, reusable,” he said. “[They] offer some protection.”

Not only are those who desperately need masks thanking Rashid, so are his employees.

“We are now helping the situation,” said one worker. “That feels better than only caring about ourselves and our job.”

Just when Rashid began to wonder how long he could pay his workers to make masks he was giving away for free, FEMA took notice. Yesterday, the federal agency placed a massive order for masks to help their medical personnel on the front lines of the COVID-19 response.

“It was millions. Now it’s billions of masks we need,” Rashid said. “There’s such a shortage that we need to fill, and it’s long term. It could be up to 18 months.”

Any person who needs a mask can get one for free by emailing info@astsportswear.com or calling 1-800-379-9969.

Comments (6)
  1. April says:

    They aren’t giving away masks. They block all emails and won’t take phone calls.

  2. Elbe Baley says:

    what a great story and so heartwarming to hear that someone is taking initiative to help in this crisis and take care of their employees and others and not waiting for the government to “do something”.

  3. Hector Raigosa says:

    Nice head line to gather more orders.. I called and emailed to acquire some for family.. I didn’t expect free masks and offered to pay cost and postage.. No mother efen response..Finally able to buy on ebay !!! F this company, as I stated .. Just wanted props on TV to gather big orders and F the community.. I ended up up paying $125. for me and my 2 kids.. Over paid? sure.. but rather ebay merchant got it versus this nut cake so called concerned business..

  4. Christy Brown says:

    Very sad that that news boasted this company’s good deeds and as with the others comments I even offered to pay and got completely ignored! I’m a in home health care provider and all I want to do is protect my client. The station should make sure what the company says is true before airing it!

  5. Dan Cari says:

    Kcal 9 should do a follow up report about this Company
    in light of what people are saying in the comments.
    Kcal should also remove. in this article the following:

    “Any person who needs a mask can get one for free by emailing info@astsportswear.com or calling 1-800-379-9969″.

  6. Kevin says:

    Im sure they are doing the best they can with whats going on.Try and be positive Even if they arent available free They are overwhelmed Working Hard and Trying to help Be Kind Be Safe Be positive Take Care. EVERYONE EVERYWHERE

Leave a Reply