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‘Disinfect Connect’ links distilleries producing sanitizer to those in need

Disinfect Connect, an organization that sprung up in response to the COVID-19 crisis, helps get disinfectant to those who need it most. (Photo courtesy of Miles Pepper)

It’s not just grocery stores running out of hand sanitizer. You have front line folks who are fighting the coronavirus crisis — everyone from health care providers to firefighters — and they’ve had difficulty keeping hand sanitizer in stock. But it turns out there’s a relatively easy way to make the product if you’re a distillery.

Disinfect Connect is a Pacific Northwest volunteer-run organization that sort of sprung into action due to this pandemic. They partner with distilleries to connect hand sanitizer with medical providers. Just today, they worked with Oola Distillery, and ended up distributing 200 gallons of sanitizer to local nursing homes and fire departments. Miles Pepper is the co-founder of Disinfect Connect and joined the Jason Rantz Show to discuss how the service works.

“What we saw where there were so many distilleries that were manufacturing this new hand sanitizer and then at the same time, all of these people who needed it. But because it’s such a new industry that hasn’t touched hand sanitizer … dots weren’t being connected and so that’s when we stepped in,” he said.

“So we started Disinfect Connect to help those most in need to find a distillery that’s producing hand sanitizer in their local area.”

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The way it works is that an organization goes to the website, submits a request for disinfectant, and then once verified, they get access to the system and then can order and reserve disinfectant directly from a distillery that has partnered with Disinfect Connect.

It currently includes many from Temple Distilling in Lynnwood to Pursuit Distilling in Enumclaw to Nightside Distillery in Edgewood. Many have been adapting their manufacturing.

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“Everyone is jumping in on this. It was a little bit of learning experience and figuring out who’s making what and how it’s all made. The last few weeks a lot of distilleries have joined our platform. The WHO has put out the formulations that they’re suggesting everyone follows, and with that, we’ve got this universal recipe that is guaranteed by the FDA, the WHO, and then these other regulatory bodies. So it’s been a lot of learning, but everything’s starting to go pretty smoothly now.”

Pepper originally got the idea after speaking to the owner of his grandmother’s nursing facility in California.

“She had told me that she was waking up at six in the morning every day to go line up in front of Costcos and Safeways in order to get disinfectant, and if she was allowed inside the store during these senior hours, she was only allowed to get one bottle at a time,” he said. “And it was really infuriating to me because she had 30 people she was looking after who are really vulnerable. Their suppliers had cut them all off.”

“Once we started making more phone calls, we saw that the problem was much more widespread, and so then we created this system and our website, which was to link distilleries with those who need it.”

Listen to the Jason Rantz Show weekday afternoons from 3 – 6 p.m. on KTTH 770 AM (or HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). Subscribe to the podcast here.

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