On Tuesday, we paid a visit– wearing our masks, of course– to the Weinberg Northeast Regional Food Bank, and we didn’t show up empty handed. With us we had a 100 gallon hand sanitizer donation that would soon be fork-lifted into the food bank’s office.
As the demand for food assistance among Pennsylvanians continues, safety on the job remains critical for volunteers and staff, especially if they are on the move. While the Weinberg Food Bank operates out of Pittston, an increasing amount of food is dispersed via mobile pantries serving Luzerne, Lackawanna, Susquehanna, and Wyoming Counties.
“When you do a distribution, you may not be in a location where you have running water,” Weinberg Food Bank’s Executive Director, Gene Brady, explained to me. In those instances, workers go through a lot of hand sanitizer. At the onset of the health crisis, workers scrambled to find partially used bottles at home, but it didn’t take long for supplies of the crucial commodity to become critically low.
To help ensure that staff, volunteers and recipients remain safe during these times, Cabot is proud to supply Weinberg with enough hand sanitizer to spread across their four-county network. Since the start of this pandemic, we’ve unfortunately seen food insecurity issues skyrocket among families and overwhelm organizations like the Weinberg Food Bank.
Food handlers wear gloves as much as possible, Brady related, but the sanitizer is applied during stops and starts in their operations. So, the donated sanitizer will be available in pumps throughout the warehouse as well as in offices for staff members to refill their own bottles. “The people who work for us and order things are very grateful,” Brady said of the sanitizer donation.
Brady noted that the organization has never before been in a position when the supply of hand sanitizer has been as vital as the food they package for families and individuals across northeast Pennsylvania. So he does not know how long 100 gallons will last. “I think that it should last us at least a month,” he suggested.
To be honest, finding a substantial supply wasn’t easy, and it took some time to arrange for shipment of the hand sanitizer, which came all the way from Texas. But, it feels good to be able to give back and help those who are helping others in need.