Light turnout doesn’t deter hand sanitizer distribution

The fear of contracting coronavirus has caused a run on hand sanitizer. And if your resources are limited, food, clothing and shelter are probably higher on your list of priorities.

Instead of families in need going without, Preface, a Gwinnett nonprofit, partnered with the public school system to pass out bottles of hand sanitizer along with free meals at two public schools Monday.

If the empty store shelves are any indication of how scarce the product is, there should have been droves of people clamoring for the stuff. But that wasn’t the case. Jonathan “JT” Wu, founder and executive director of Preface scratched his head in wonder.

“I guess the cold, rainy weather and the fact that the word hadn’t really got out kept the crowds away,” he said as he passed out a few dozen of the 250 bottles on hand.

He had worried that there would be a throng at Berkmar High and Lilburn Elementary. It was more like a trickle. The free bagged lunches giveaway didn’t fare much better.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution watched staffers wave in the scant number of parents and students who either walked to the school’s front door or drove by the rear entrance near the gymnasium for a peanut butter sandwich meal complete with broccoli florets, apples slices, a granola bar and their choice of white, chocolate or strawberry milk.

“This is nice,” said Julisa Francisco through her son Ajay translating for her from Spanish. “I wasn’t expecting this.”

“We don’t have any more at home so this is great!” said the enthusiastic elementary student.

The light turnout hasn’t deterred Wu.

“We’re working on a partnership in DeKalb as well,” he said. “Once the word gets out, we’ll need more and I’m determined to make sure students are protected in the days ahead.”