Who knew a great little brewery in downtown Albany would be the saving grace for a region in Southwest Georgia that was a major coronavirus outbreak hotspot? The number of COVID-positive patients escalated at an alarming rate, leaving devastation in its wake. Everything closed down and shelves were emptied of the very supplies needed to disinfect and sanitize. The elderly, the homeless, and those serving on the front lines of the epidemic were particularly vulnerable. With funds donated to the Rotary Foundation, a Disaster Relief Grant was provided to help address the COVID-19 response needs in our region. Thanks to this grant, the Rotary Club of Americus was able to purchase 75 gallons and over 350 (8 oz.) bottles of hand sanitizer from Pretoria Fields Collective, a brewery in Albany, GA, that suspended operations and transitioned its resources to produce a different alcohol product. Our club collaborated with other clubs in the southwest Georgia region to apply and appreciate Mary Ligon's leadership on the grant application.
In an effort spearheaded by Past -resident Reda Rowell, the Americus club distributed the sanitizer to local nursing homes, the homeless shelter, the Americus Police and Fire Departments, the Sumter Sheriff's Office and Sumter County Fire Department. Additional funds were used to purchase N-95 masks from a locally owned business and medical face shields manufactured right here in the City of Americus. Americus Rotarians are grateful for the collaboration amongst Rotary clubs in our region and for the generosity of so many who helped in this unprecedented time of need.