CALGARY -- Through the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, personal protective equipment (PPE) has been in high demand to keep Calgarians safe.

The Southern Alberta Institute of Technology has stepped up to the plate and is constructing 1,000 face shields for donation. The first 480 shields were supplied to the Helping Alberta organization Thursday.

"We began about two months ago and we’ve been 3D printing the shields ever since," explained Jim Szautner, the dean of SAIT’s School of Manufacturing and Automation and School Transportation.

"We’ve got a shipment ready to go and were going to pass it off to Helping Alberta so we can get these face shields in the hands of front line workers”

SAIT began the project shortly after the province went into lockdown and students and faculty were eager to come up with ways to help.

"What it came down to was a real grassroots effort from our faculty and staff to say hey we want to do more to help our communities."

Helping Alberta, the recipient of the first bundle of face shields, welcomed the donation with open arms.

Melissa LaMothe, Helping Alberta's co-founder, says the organization has been helping supply front line workers with donated PPE.

"We’ve been connecting donated PPE to organizations that have front line workers especially in the health care area," said LaMothe. "An Initiative like this is really amazing because it shows the collaboration and creativity amongst different kinds of industries."

SAIT has a dozen 3D printers that are capable of collectively pumping out between 30 and 40 shields a day. The initiative will continue until the goal of printing a minimum of 1,000 face shields is achieved.