Staff with the Wolfhead Distillery in Amherstburg, Ont. handed out more than 2,000 bottles of hand sanitizer on Friday, encouraging those picking up the antiseptic to make donations to the Amherstburg Food and Fellowship Mission and Food Bank.
Lisa McDonald, an office administrator with the distillery, explained that staff wearing personal protective equipment handed out a maximum of two 350 ml bottles to a "crazy, overwhelmingly busy" line-up of cars, while staff with the food bank collected donations.
"It worked really well," she said. "It was very efficient. Once the line started moving, it moved pretty good."
McDonald explained that the distillery came up with the idea to collect donations for the local food bank after learning that food banks across the region were having trouble meeting demand.
June Muir, head of the Windsor-Essex Food Bank Association, which administers 15 regional food banks including the Food and Fellowship Mission and Food Bank, told CBC News on March 20 that area food banks only had about 10 days worth of supplies left at the time.
Muir explained that the shortage was caused by an increasing number of food bank visitors affected by COVID-19-related layoffs and work suspensions.
Wolfhead capitalized on an existing relationship with University of Windsor chemistry professor John Trant to distill the company's supply of hand sanitizer.
McDonald said the distillery is currently waiting on an "emergency license" that will enable the company to sell its hand sanitizer "to the front lines and get it out to the nursing homes and everybody who needs it."
"Our hands are tied right now until that licensing comes through," McDonald said. "In the meantime, this is what we can do."
Wolfhead isn't the only adult beverage company working on producing hand sanitizer.
In late March, the Hiram Walker and Sons distillery on Riverside Drive announced plans to produce and donate locally made hand sanitizer to prevent the spread of COVID-19.