Thursday, July 28, 2011

FAQ: Who Packages the Whistles?

This doesn't actually have much to do with safety, but I thought I'd share it anyway...

Earlier today, I was forwarded an email from Lafayette Industries, the company that packages the Storm and Windstorm whistles. It has been almost twenty years and over three million whistles since we first started worked with Lafayette, so they sent over some thank-you cards. They are sincerely heartfelt, really quite touching, and answers the question that’s crossed everyone’s mind at one time or another: who packages the whistle?

Lafayette Industries is a local, non-for-profit “affirmative industry” that is dedicated to providing employment opportunities to those with disabilities.  Founded in 1975, Lafayette began with only sixteen employees, and has since expanded to two locations, employing over three hundred and fifty people.  Such “affirmative industries” are prevalent in Missouri, and currently employ 7500 people who would not normally be able to enjoy the workplace community. Lafayette Industries is dedicated to fostering this community, and hosts a variety of events through the year, including a Valentine’s Day Dance and a trip to see the Cardinals play at Busch Stadium.

Grants from the government typically only cover ten to twenty percent of the operating budget, so Lafayette Industries is left with the challenging task of generating high-quality products in order to retain their clients, while keeping the workload accessible to as many workers with disabilities as possible. By focusing on training “to increase employee’s skills, knowledge, and versatility,” Lafayette has maintained their high standards of quality, and have proved themselves to be a fiscally-responsible non-profit.

In her note accompanying the photographs, Ms. Van Berkel wrote that the All Weather Whistle Company has “provided countless hours of employment for our employees with disabilities.” Everyone here at All Weather Safety Whistle Company is proud to support non-profits in the St. Louis area, and we look forward to our next three million whistles being packaged by the lovely folks at Lafayette Industries.

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