A MESSAGE FROM OUR FOUNDERS
How the Helping Hands Sanitiser idea was born and Local Kiwis Stepped up to lend a hand.
Operation Helping Hands started as us wanting to do something as the reality of COVID and imminent lockdown was becoming reality. We went looking for hand sanitiser to help protect our team as they were at work but couldn’t find any, so converted our distillery to make it ourselves.
When we realised the wider demand for this product, we looked to scale up the operation. Within the space of a week (that felt like a month) we went from knowing nothing about hand sanitiser to re-distilling the whiskey and beer we had ageing in barrels in to WHO recipe 80% sanitiser.
The reaction and support we got while embarking on the hand sanitiser production journey is what Operation Helping Hands became. Our designer Allan from Forever After came up with a label within a day, our label printers Brian from Soar Print in Auckland and Chris from W-Rapt labels in Wellington rushed our jobs through with their teams so we could label and distribute the sanitiser as soon as possible.
It didn’t stop there. Simon Perry from the Perry Foundation called up and offered a hugely generous grant to help us keep production going knowing our cash flow had taken a hit having to close six bars that week. Our Be Good Do Good charity partners The Waterboy stepped up to help deal with the overwhelming level of enquiry coming through and our delivery partners PBT Couriers offered free delivery of the product to the 1500 and counting people we’ve given a bottle of the sanitiser to.
With demand exploding we needed to scale up production which meant needing to access raw materials, we’d used up our barrel beer and whiskey stock. Fonterra came to the party giving us access to a large quantity of the ethanol we needed and Kip at Deosan got in touch offering us the use of his agri-chemical factory at no charge to produce sanitiser faster and on a bigger scale. Kip and his team halted their regular operations to make sanitiser for us demonstrating how far local companies will go to help each other and the community. Finally Tim from Elite Polymers then stepped in and donated a huge quantity of the packaging we needed to safely get the product out far and wide.
We also had support from Biodet Services who tested the product to ensure it performed as needed (it demonstrated a 99.999% kill rate against bacteria) and Brett and Claire from HamChem who guided us on label compliance.
Aside from the small but important role the sanitizer has played to help people in this crisis, what’s really stuck with us is the community gathering around us and getting in behind us, and choosing to #SupportLocal. It just bloody awesome and it’s been a silver lining in these testing times.
This is a time for Kiwi resilience to shine, an opportunity to support local community, show compassion, and work together for a brighter future.
Up yours COVID-19
Brian, Darrel, and Jason