By Deepika Katta
In the absence of effective antiviral drugs or vaccines for COVID-19, it is essential to use masks and gloves in our everyday lives. Recently, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advised everyone to also prioritize cleanliness, especially when it comes to hand hygiene.
Yes, one of the best ways to prevent the spread of infections is still washing hands with soap and water for 20 seconds. But in certain communities, and for many frontline workers, handwashing facilities are unavailable. For example, in some indigenous communities in the United States, up to 40% of households do not have running water. In the absence of a sink, the second most effective way to stay clean is to use hand sanitizer.
Free People Lends a (Clean) Hand
URBN, the Philadelphia-based company that created the iconic brands Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie, and Free People, takes this challenge seriously. Free People created a unique partnership between Get Us PPE and French company Merci Handy, which produced an exclusive unscented hand sanitizer for the bohemian clothing brand. For each website order over $50, Free People customers received a free travel-sized bottle of Merci Handi sanitizer, and one bottle of sanitizer was sent to a frontline worker in need, care of Get Us PPE. So far, we’ve delivered about 23,000 bottles, with 8,000 more on the way.
Merci Handy was initially created by two classmates, Louis and Roland, in Paris in 2014. The company is eager to make a difference in not only the U.S. but also in its hometown. Hence, it started a buy one/give one free initiative in France, and to this day, continues to hold its partnership with a French Organization against cyber-bullying. 10% of proceeds of Merci Handy purchases support hand sanitizer donations to frontline workers.
Happiness, Rainbows, and PPE
Free People has been an exceptional partner to Get Us PPE. They have generously donated thousands of hand sanitizers to our organization “in hopes to bring more happiness and ‘rainbows’ into people’s lives.” Get Us PPE now gives the no-scent travel-size hand sanitizer bottles to frontline and healthcare workers where it is needed the most. In many areas of the United States, hand sanitizer is in shorter supply than ever. As of August 1, more frontline facilities in New York, Tennessee, Ohio, and Arizona requested hand sanitizer from us than any other type of PPE. Thanks to Free People and Merci Handy for their partnership, our organization can aid those still struggling to practice lifesaving hand hygiene.