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Staff at the Aboriginal Health Center in Hamilton, De dwa da dehs nyes, receive PPE and toy donations from Spin Master in partnership with aid agency Save the Children.

Cleopatra‘s Canvas Photography/Handout

The organizers: Employees at Spin Master Ltd.

The projects: Donating toys and PPE

Like a lot of companies, Spin Master Ltd. was turned upside down when the COVID-19 pandemic hit Canada in March.

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The Toronto-based company, which specializes in toys and games for children, had to adjust to a new working reality. Overnight, nearly all of the company’s more than 2,000 employees in Canada and abroad began working from home, and almost everything from marketing to sales calls had to be done by video.

As employees adjusted, many also began thinking about how to use the company’s resources to help others. That led a group of engineers to rework Spin Master’s Hedbanz game into a face shield for health care workers. The company has now made more than 200,000 face shields and it’s giving them away to workers at hospitals, nursing homes and women’s shelters in Canada and the United States. The company has also donated 90,000 toys through its charitable partners and it has developed a free online learning program for children, as well as a public service message about handwashing that is also aimed at kids.

“In all areas of the business people have stepped up and wanted to do something,” said Ronnen Harary, the company’s co-founder and co-chief executive.

Spin Master is slowly returning to normal and staff have been trickling back to various offices. But some of the charitable activities will continue, including the toy donation effort.

“It gives a lot of energy to our staff,” Mr. Harary said. “People feel that they can do something. It’s empowering.”

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