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Thanks to a group of local 4-H kids and their club leader, Brooks-TLC Hospital System, Inc. is among the lucky recipients of an FDA-approved, privately manufactured hand sanitizer.
Mary Kay, Inc. Independent Beauty Consultant and 4-H Fredonia Star Riders leader, Aimee Rogers, created a unique opportunity for kids in her club to support their community during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Fredonia Star Riders, with membership throughout northern Chautauqua County, is a Cornell Cooperative Extension 4-H Club, which provides the opportunity for kids to be leaders, learn new skills, public speaking, and the value of community service.

This particular club is equestrian-focused, so these kids are accustomed to frequent hand washing and maintaining barn hygiene to keep the beloved animals safe. Armed with first-hand understanding of how bacteria and viruses can be spread that can result in sick animals….an idea was born. The kids decided to transfer their knowledge of preventing infection in horses to preventing infection in their community. Just like in the barn, using hand sanitizer would help stop the spread of disease in the community.
Aimee asked fellow 4-H mom, Becky Strong, a Brooks-TLC emergency department nurse, if the hospital could use hand sanitizer to help keep staff safe during the pandemic. “The hospital can absolutely use hand sanitizer!” Becky replied, and the wheels were in motion.

“To engage the kids, first, we researched how to make hand sanitizer for doctors and nurses at the hospital – but, at the time, all the alcohol was sold out locally and grain alcohol was too costly. We were all so disappointed,” shared Aimee.

“However, as a Mary Kay Independent Beauty Consultant, I was aware of a corporate initiative to produce hand sanitizer for hospitals early in the pandemic, so I contacted them and requested 100 bottles. Unfortunately, they were unable to fulfill our request due to high demand from first responders, but it would be considered when more became available.”

Dallas-based Mary Kay, Inc. made the transition to help meet the need COVID-19 has created by dedicating part of its global supply chain and manufacturing capabilities to producing much-needed hand sanitizer to support frontline workers.

“About 2 weeks later, we received acknowledgment that Mary Kay had accepted our request. The kids were so excited!”

To their surprise, the 4-H request for 100 bottles was increased to over 200 bottles. The club also made arrangements to pay for them through the Cornell Cooperative Extension 4-H Youth Program; but Mary Kay declined, and suggested, instead that the money be used in other ways to help the community during this pandemic.

“Though we are facing extraordinary challenges during the COVID-19 global pandemic, the world is finding ways to adjust—with little or no warning,” said David Holl, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer at Mary Kay Inc. “Producing hand sanitizer to combat this crisis is how we can support those on the front lines.”

Aimee added, “Our 4-H club appreciates the work of all the frontline workers at Brooks-TLC Hospital. Hospital staff is always helping those in need, especially during these stressful and uncertain days of the COVID virus.”

The kids made cards for frontline workers, wrapped the hand sanitizer as gifts and made an outing of the delivery day to the hospital.
The 4-H Youth Development Program is one of many programs offered by Cornell Cooperative Extension of Chautauqua County (CCE-Chautauqua). CCE-Chautauqua is a community based educational organization, affiliated with Cornell University, Chautauqua County government, the State University of New York system, and the federal government through the United States Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture.