A local hospital and a regional medical center.
A veteran’s home.
A volunteer fire department.
Two local police departments.
That’s just a few of the beneficiaries of more than 3,000 gallons of hand sanitizer recently produced and donated by RFA member KAAPA Ethanol Ravenna to critical local partners helping battle the coronavirus and keeping residents safe and healthy.
Also on the list? Critical equipment like N95 masks KAAPA donated to the local police department. N95 masks remove 95% of the airborne particles and are considered the gold-standard for personal protective equipment that police departments and other first responders need at this time.
After hearing directly from locals, KAAPA CEO Chuck Woodside knew that they wanted to help. “We realized it was a real need. When I talked to the head of nursing at a local hospital, she almost started crying,” Woodside said. “Our hope is to get hand sanitizer to many of our first responders and medical professionals.”
One Kearney resident, hearing of the donations, put things into perspective for Woodside writing, “My son in law is a Kearney Police Officer and goes home to his family after being out and about in the community. Thank you for your efforts that will help keep them safe!”
The donations from KAAPA are a “reminder of how U.S. ethanol facilities are entrenched in their local communities,” noted Geoff Cooper, President and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association.
In addition to the hand sanitizer, KAAPA donated 2000 gallons of ethanol to the University of Nebraska Lincoln to be used in hand sanitizer production and distributed across the state of Nebraska. Overall, KAAPA Ethanol has contributed to the production of 5,000 gallons of hand sanitizer to help meet the needs of their state.
Like many industries across the country, U.S. ethanol producers have been hard hit by the economic devastation caused by COVID-19. Stay at home orders needed to fight the virus have greatly reduced gasoline demand and 40% of the nation’s ethanol capacity has shuttered, jeopardizing this critical workforce and undermining an already weak commodity market for farmers.
“In spite of the economic peril the industry is facing, I couldn’t be more proud of the way RFA member companies have volunteered to be foot soldiers in the war against COVID-19 by increasing their production of the alcohol used in hand sanitizer, and making excess personal protective equipment available” said Cooper.
CHI Good Samaritan Hospital in Kearney, where some of KAAPA’s hand sanitizer is being used, is part of CommonSpirit Health, a nonprofit, Catholic health system of a regional health network nurturing the healing ministry of the Church while creating healthier communities. Another recipient, Central Nebraska Veterans’ Home, offers a range of living arrangements for men and women who have served our country as well as eligible family members. The Kearney Police and Fire Departments serve the more than 30,000 residents and as well as the University of Nebraska at Kearney.