The Charleston Area Regional Transportation Authority (CARTA) received delivery of a 55-gallon container of hand sanitizer from a downtown Charleston distillery May 11.
Partnering with local spirit maker High Wire Distilling Company, CARTA picked up the drum filled with hand sanitizer, which will be used throughout the CARTA transit system in an effort to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 across the region.
“Anything we can do to make it safer for our drivers, to make it safer for our customers, make it more comfortable and convenient for people out there to give them that level of comfort, and to let them use hand sanitizer – which regardless of what’s going on now or what’s going on in the future – will be a great idea,” said Mike Seekings, the CARTA board chairman. “It’s a good way for us to make sure that just one more part of our process of moving people around the community is safer for everybody out there.”
CARTA purchased the hand sanitizer with recently approved federal CARES Act funding, which provides fast and direct economic assistance for American workers and families, small businesses and transit authorities across the nation during the COVID-19 crisis. Using a portion of the funding to acquire the sanitizer was another important step toward providing the safest public transportation environment possible, Seekings said.
Ann Marshall, the co-founder of High Wire Distilling Company, said that the distillery makes its mark producing spirits, but that this opportunity to help CARTA and its transit system riders was a great way to think outside the box with its alcohol production.
“We are traditionally a maker of gin and whiskey right here in downtown Charleston, so when COVID-19 situation hit, we quickly pivoted to making hand sanitizer, and we’ve been making it for the last three weeks,” Marshall said. “Like everyone, we felt a little helpless when this all started, and we wanted to do as much as we could to help the community stay in good health.”
“CARTA, of course, touches so many people in the Charleston community on a day-to-day basis, so it really made the most sense as the best outlet for us to get the product in the world and to as many people as we could,” Marshall said. “We’ll continue making hand sanitizer as long as there’s a need.”
Seekings echoed those sentiments saying that CARTA will do it’s best to provide a safe riding environment at this pivotal time in history.
“We’re going to get this out to the community, for free, off of our buses,” Seeking said. “We’re excited to partner with local businesses to get out there in the community and provide a product that’s needed, at a time that it’s needed, to those who want to use it.”