Arvadans give helping hand through backyard sanitizer workshop

Operation has helped businesses, nonprofits

Casey Van Divier
cvandivier@coloradocommunitymedia.com
Posted 6/8/20

Local nonprofits, healthcare organizations, businesses and the Arvada police and fire departments are just some of the groups that have received free hand sanitizer made by a local couple in their …

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Arvadans give helping hand through backyard sanitizer workshop

Operation has helped businesses, nonprofits

Posted

Local nonprofits, healthcare organizations, businesses and the Arvada police and fire departments are just some of the groups that have received free hand sanitizer made by a local couple in their backyard workshop.

Lisa Smith, a social worker and Air Force veteran, launched the operation in March after discovering with her fiancé, Eli, that the sanitizer could be made at home with the World Health Organization's local hand sanitizer production guidelines.

The document includes a list of ingredients, which prompted the couple to jump into action to find supplies including glycerol and isopropyl alcohol. While the search began with national vendors, the two quickly found that the ingredients were not readily available nationwide.

“It made us look hyper-locally,” Smith said. “For the alcohol we learned you could use Everclear, and I also started reaching out to science companies and distilleries.”

After securing the ingredients, it was time to get to work measuring and combining ingredients, bottling and labeling the sanitizer and allowing it to sit for 72 hours — all of which has been done inside a shed in the Arvada couple's backyard.

The operation has produced close to 2,000 bottles of hand sanitizer, Smith said, and those bottles have made their way across Arvada. She's brought cases to Arvada organizations and sometimes handed bottles out to the residents she crosses paths with.

While the process can be time-consuming, she added that she's motivated by the fact that many have been unable to find cleaning products in stores.

“I was raised by a social worker and a teacher and it was distilled in us that you give what you can,” Smith said, “and there's something to be said about veterans and their call to service. I never want to see people struggle.”

Individual residents or businesses can pick up the free sanitizer by contacting Smith at lisa.smith@teamrubiconusa.org. As of June 5, the couple had about 300 bottles available.

With businesses preparing for a kickoff of the Olde Town street closure plan June 12, Smith will also be providing hand sanitizer for the business's booths at the event.

“This has brought me into the community and connected me to such amazing people,” Smith said. “We're just going to keep pushing it out until there's no need.”

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