KENT, Ohio — When you think of a sweatshop, the words socially responsible don't normally come to mind.
But that's exactly how Mary Ann Kasper would describe her organization.
Kasper started the Socially Responsible Sweatshop in 2013.
“We take landfill-destined textiles. We turn them into beautiful things like yoga mat bags and meditation pillows and other useful household things," Kasper said.
They then sell the items that they make at the Haymaker Farmer's Market in Kent.
"We give 100% of the money to food insecurity projects,” she said. "We don’t keep any of the money for operating expenses. If we need to pay off like an insurance bill, we raffle off a quilt.”
Since its inception in 2013, the organization has grown significantly.
“During the pandemic, our volunteer base doubled. We went from about 30 to about 60,” Kasper said.
The Socially Responsible Sweatshop even has permanent offices set up in a church in Kent.
"Any one of us could be the person with food insecurity,” she said. “Use your skills and give back. It’s important; you know, people still need you.”