U.S. Sugar provides sanitizer to seniors

Lake Placid distillery makes hand sanitizer instead of rum.

CLEWISTON — In the midst of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the people of U.S. Sugar are working to provide local employees and the most vulnerable members of the Glades communities with hand sanitizer produced by Sugar Sand Distillery in Lake Placid to help stop the spread of the virus.

Special to the Lake Okeechobee News/U.S. Sugar
CLEWISTON — Communications Director Ryan Duffy with a sample of the sugarcane-based hand sanitizer.

The company announced on April 1 it is providing up to 1,200 units of hand sanitizer to members of the local communities and its employees in the workplace, who are part of the nation’s “critical infrastructure” of harvesting and processing food, according to recent U.S. Department of Homeland Security guidelines. The company will provide hand sanitizer to senior centers in LaBelle, Clewiston, Belle Glade and Pahokee. The hand sanitizer is made at Sugar Sand Distillery by using sugarcane molasses to distill alcohol used in its hand sanitizer.

“In times of crisis, you can always count on the resourcefulness of farmers to help solve problems as they arise,” said Judy Sanchez, U.S. Sugar’s senior director for corporate communications and public affairs. “Whether i’ts hurricanes, economic downturns or even global pandemics, we are all in this together and are proud to serve our local communities during their time of need. We are taking care of our families, because after all, we live here, too.”

“Sugarcane is a powerful plant, and recognizing the increased demand for hand sanitizer, Sugar Sand Distillery has shifted its focus away from making spirits to helping fulfill a vital need in our region,” said Don Davies, founder of Sugar Sand Distillery. “The partnership between U.S. Sugar and our distillery promotes healthy habits that can help save lives.”

“We appreciate our friends at Sugar Sand Distillery for their resiliency in turning sugarcane into a helpful use that may help protect the most vulnerable against the spread of the coronavirus,” Ms. Sanchez added.

Starting last week, the people of U.S. Sugar began distributing hand sanitizer to local nursing homes and assisted living facilities in the Glades area. These facilities include the Oakbrook Health and Rehabilitation Center in LaBelle, Clewiston Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, Quiet Waters Senior Living and West County Senior Center in Belle Glade, and Glades Health Care Center in Pahokee.

The hand sanitizer consists of up to 70 percent alcohol, which is the equivalent of 140 proof. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines recommends using a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol in addition to avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Recently, U.S. Sugar also announced a multi-year partnership with The Glades Initiative, a Belle Glade-based community service organization that assists local residents with job placement, social services and feeding programs. The company is providing resources in support of The Glades Initiative’s area food services throughout the Glades region.

About U.S. Sugar
U.S. Sugar is a farming company that grows and processes sugarcane, citrus, green beans, sweet corn and other vegetables. The company was founded in 1931 by Charles Stewart Mott, a visionary leader who hailed from a long line of farmers.

About Sugar Sand Distillery
Opened in April 2018, Sugar Sand Distillery is an estate-grown sugarcane farm distillery. Nestled in the middle of a 10-acre sugar cane farm, Sugar Sand Distillery is a true farm-to-bottle operation producing small-batch rum, whiskey, vodka, limoncello and moonshine. The distillery was born from a desire to incorporate the love of farming with the love of producing true handcrafted spirits.

Originally conceived by founder Don Davies in 2017, the processes of making mash and home distilling with sugarcane were perfected through experimentation. As friends and family raved and then began requesting refills, Don discovered a deepening love for the process and, of course, the finished product. As he began researching craft distilleries and the growing market for such operations, the dream of Sugar Sand Distillery was born.

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