Toilet paper packer has important 'roll' during COVID-19 outbreak

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — As shoppers continue to panic-buy during the coronavirus pandemic, toilet paper is one of several hot commodities that seems to fly off store shelves faster than it can be restocked.

Edwin Stautt, a local toilet paper factory worker, says he's doing all he can to help keep up with the demand.

"Six weeks ago I was thinking, 'Hey, it's a job,'" Stautt said. "And now it's easier to get money than toilet paper."

For much of his life, 76-year-old Stautt, who has a PhD, was a teacher.

But now, he says, "I'm making toilet paper and I'm glad to do it."

Stuatt is blind, and he works as a packer at the Keystone Blind Association's toilet paper factory in Chester.

"I'm not only glad to do it because I have a job," he said. "I'm glad to do it, because it's providing something in a time when providing something means a difference."

Since the coronavirus pandemic hit the United States, Stuatt says worked has picked up tremendously.

"We've gone to double shifts, six days a week, in order to provide the tractor trailers what they need," he said.

He says they usually supply toilet paper to state colleges and prisons, but he suspects the product is helping many others as well — because they are now filling more than double the number of trailers they usually do.

"And now, instead of doing one or two a week, we're doing more like three to five,"he said.

Stautt says there are just 11 workers in their factory, and they are making the best of a tough situation.

"I'm glad to have work, because the people we meet, many of them are not working," he said. 

Stautt says the virus is keeping them from hiring more workers, but he's sure they can keep up with the ever-growing work load.

"The world is upside-down, and inside-out, and we're just trying to adjust to it, like anyone else," he said.

And as long as he's in high demand, he's going to play his role.