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Cleveland Whiskey & MAGNET team up to combat COVID-19 pandemic

The pandemic has led to a shortage of some products, including hand sanitizer, which is critical for businesses as they reopen.

CLEVELAND — The need for some products amid the coronavirus pandemic sparked joint efforts between several Ohio manufacturers, which formed the Ohio Manufacturing Alliance to Fight COVID-19 (OMAFC).

Cleveland Whiskey, which started making hand sanitizer, donated its services to bottle and assemble the sanitizer into kits. Axium, which manufactures plastic containers and has operations in Columbus, donated bottles. The Manufacturing Advocacy and Growth Network in Northeast Ohio (MAGNET) also donated bottles, along with spouts and cartons.

The CEO of Cleveland Whiskey, Tom Lix, talked to 3News about why donating hand sanitizer is so important to them.

“We have a very simple mission statement, and that is every day we make good whiskey and we do the right things. So this fell into doing the right thing. We're all in this together, and if we can do a small part to help, that's a great thing.”

Each hand sanitizer kit includes three gallons of sanitizer and 12 refillable bottles. More than 1,300 kits have already been donated, and the latest round will go to the Akron Urban League. They will then distribute the kits to minority-owned businesses, community organizations, and faith-based organizations in their communities.

The president and CEO of MAGNET, Ethan Karp, says this partnership is just beginning.

“I can tell you from a personal standpoint, given everything that's going on in the world today, how heartening that piece of this is. Just to show collaboration that has nothing to do with the protests, but it definitely does because it says we are all working together to do something good. To keep our businesses working and collaborate, and I think that that is a beautiful thing.”

Besides the Akron Urban League, OMAFC is also developing partnerships with the other six Urban League chapters in Ohio. This will allow donations of the hand sanitizer kits to be distributed to small businesses and organizations in Canton, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Lorain County and the Youngstown area.

Other companies also stepped up to provide hand sanitizer as part of this initiative. GOJO Industries, which has its headquarters in Akron, donated 4,752 gallons of Purell sanitizer. BASF donated 936 gallons, and Anheuser-Busch provided another 433 gallons of sanitizer.

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