As concern about the coronavirus pandemic swept the country, hand sanitizer became hard to find at stores in the Kansas City area.
Dr. Ron Torline, an anesthesiologist at the University of Kansas Medical Center, became concerned for vulnerable populations who might not have access to this health care essential.
Researching ways of making hand sanitizer through the World Health Organization, Dr. Torline came up with a simple recipe that included grain alcohol.
Enlisting the help of his church, the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection, Dr. Torline began gathering the ingredients, bottles and volunteers.
“Everclear,” a grain alcohol product, was initially purchased from a local liquor store, but the cost made it prohibitive to produce large quantities.
Ultimately church member Dave Webb suggested connecting with East Kansas Agri-Energy (EKAE), ethanol plant at Garnett, about purchasing alcohol in bulk.
Bill Pratch, CEO at EKAE, arranged for the church to purchase 50 gallons of alcohol at a substantially reduced price.
While saving thousands of dollars, 2,000 bottles of hand sanitizer were produced for use by area homeless shelters and other social service organizations in Kansas City.
EKAE founder and current board member Dan Guetterman made the contact and transported the alcohol with Webb’s assistance.
A team of volunteers at the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection mixed, assembled and distributed the hand sanitizer.
“Thank you EKAE for making this possible,” Webb appreciated.
“Church members are waiting on a shipment of plastic bottles and will making another batch this week,” Webb added.