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Local business owners fill void of hand sanitizer for Cedar Rapids community

Owners of Cedar Ridge, Ecolips, & Brewhemia give out free sanitize

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KWWL) -- Hand sanitizer is scarce to find across Eastern Iowa but today it was plentiful in Cedar Rapids as local business owners passed out free hand sanitizer to community members.

It all started when the owner of EcoLips and co-owner of Brewhemia, Steve Shriver looked to order hand sanitizer for his employees but it was nowhere to be found.

"We were trying to buy some hand sanitizer for our businesses and realized rapidly that there is none available," said Shriver, "So we came up with the idea to call up Cedar Ridge in knowing that they have grain alcohol there."

He got together with Cedar Ridge Winery & Distillery owner, Jeff Quint to see what they could do to make their own hand cleaner using the distillery's alcohol product.

All the hard work to fine-tune an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with the help of Shrivers co-owner, a doctor with UnityPoint came to fruition today.

A line awaited volunteers that sprawled the block as carloads of community members waited to pick up some of the only available hand sanitizers in the city.

Shriver said it was a bit overwhelming at first to see the need, "It was pretty stressful. Right at 10 o'clock, we had several hundred cars lined up."

People yelled, 'thank you' out their car windows to volunteers wearing masks and gloves as they passed out the bottles of 65% alcohol hand cleaner.

One of the recipients was Holly Christine Brown who heard about the event on Facebook.

"I'm really thankful for it. I'm a person with a lung disorder so you know, I'm high risk so this is really important and I'm so glad they're doing something like this," said Christine Brown.

Christine Brown said it's been hard to find any needed supplies to keep herself safe, "It's been hard to find everything, I've been surprised at just how quickly stores have been wiped out."

Some people even donated money for the next batch, grateful to get their hands on any type of hand sanitizer.

"This is wonderful, something kind people are doing," said another recipient from their car.

Even hospitals and other organizations from as far as out of state have reached out to Shriver, as they desperately look for cleaners.

"This is a real threat," said Shriver, "Somebody earlier was like, 'are you happy to see this kind of demand?' And I'm like, no, no. I mean, ideally, you know, nobody shows up and that means everybody's got their hand sanitizer."

Cedar Ridge does plan to make another batch of the sanitizer later this week.

Shriver said for now they do plan to cover the costs for future batches.

HAPPENING NOW — Local businesses in Cedar Rapids have gotten together to make and hand out hand sanitizer.UPDATE — More than 750 hand sanitizers have been given out by local business owners of Cedar Ridge Winery & EcoLips/Brewhemia. This is all happening at Newbo City Market. They’ll will hand them out till they run out. There are about 200 left at last count. More tonight @ 5 & 6 pm

Posted by KWWL on Wednesday, March 18, 2020
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Author Profile Photo

Ashley Neighbor

Reporter, Cedar Rapids

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