The COVID-19 pandemic has required an all hands on deck approach to protect our communities and ensure first responders have the tools they need. Sugar producers have boldly stepped up to the challenge and are making critical donations, retooling portions of their production lines or diverting sugar from their normal supply chains to create necessary products to fight COVID-19.
Health care providers across the country are desperately in need of personal protective equipment (PPE), such as N95 masks, to protect them as they are on the frontlines of the fight against COVID-19. Sugar companies are donating extra masks and equipment to these first responders.
Michigan Sugar Company uses PPE to keep sugar workers safe, and donated a portion of their company supply to local health systems, including hundreds of masks, safety glasses, and gloves.
Amalgamated Sugar Company, which processes sugar beets in Idaho, Oregon and Washington, saw the pressing need for cloth face masks to protect against the COVID-19 virus and moved the industrial sewing machines in its quality lab into face mask production. They typically make tare sample bags but are now hard at work sewing face masks to protect their employees as they continue the essential work of producing food for our nation. Amalgamated Sugar employees are assisting in this effort as well, working to sew masks while at home.
“We will donate any surplus we have once our critical infrastructure employees are adequately protected,” said Scott Winn, Amalgamated Sugar’s Vice President of Operations.
Beyond masks, hand sanitizer was among the first items in short supply as the pandemic took its toll on stockpiles across the world. The sugar industry has teamed up with distilleries to help restock this critical item.
In Florida, the members of Florida Sugar & Molasses Exchange are donating molasses to Tampa Bay Rum Company to produce sanitizer that will be donated to doctors, hospitals, police, fire, EMTs, letter and package carriers or any frontline workers. U.S. Sugar is donating fermentable sugar to Sugar Sand Distillery in Lake Placid to make sanitizer.
Three Roll Estate Distillery in Baton Rouge normally makes rum, but with the help of the sugarcane industry in Louisiana, they’re now distilling a higher proof alcohol for hand sanitizer.
Domino Sugar’s Baltimore refinery donated sugar to Lost Ark Distilling, which will use it to create ethanol, one of the ingredients in the hand sanitizer it is producing and donating to local hospitals and first responders.
In Illinois, American Sugar Refining (ASR) Group is donating sugar and molasses to KOVAL Distillery, which will use it to create ethanol for hand sanitizer that will be given to fire stations, hospitals and ambulance companies.
“By continuing to support each other and our neighbors, we will get through this crisis together and will be stronger for it,” ASR Group said.
We’re proud to lend a helping hand as we all fight COVID-19 together.