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LiDestri's hand sanitizer helping first responders stay clean during pandemic

Andrew Hyman
Updated: May 06, 2020 04:42 PM
Created: May 02, 2020 11:03 PM

ROCHESTER N.Y. (WHEC) – Ridge Road Fire District Chief Brian Gebo says staying sanitary is a priority for all first responders, especially given the coronavirus pandemic.

In a given year, he says his team uses up roughly two gallons of hand sanitizer spread out among daily 14-person shifts. This year, demand is much higher. When the pandemic started, he says their stock was low and something had to be done.

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"We’re trying to stay as vigilant as possible," says Gebo.

So, Gebo began looking around. He saw several breweries and cideries were stepping up to mass-produce and sell bottles of sanitizer.

Among the efforts that stood out, was a few gallons donated to the Greece Police Department. The donor, in this case, was LiDestri Foods and Drink. The Fairport-based company is known for its mass production of different sauces and salsas, but also for its spirit-based label, ‘Recipe 21.’ 

“I said 'hey, is there any possibility that you can help out us at the fire department?'" Gebo says.

The company came through, not only donating three cases to the fire district but also an additional 15 cases to five other fire and police departments in Gates, Greece, and Fairport.  Departments showed up outside LiDestri’s spirit-focused factory off Lee Road in Greece on April 23 to pick up the donations. That effort? Led by Gebo.

It's part of an effort which Director of Marketing and Sales Ricky Tatar says took off from just an idea into full-on production within six days.

"We’re just trying to figure out what we can do to help out," Tatar says.

The company first announced it was producing the sanitizer in early April. Tatar says the idea was no-brainer, as LiDestri already had most of the necessary materials needed to make the sanitizer. 

Production is solely taking place at the Lee Road facility. Since production started, Tatar says the company can pump out thousands of gallons a day. While it is offering curbside pickup for the general public, the company has also donated roughly 400 gallons of sanitizer to various organizations throughout Rochester. Those include Foodlink, Hillside, URMC, and Mary Cariola, among others.

“We didn't want to just do something to get by,” Tatar says. “We wanted to make sure that we could really make an impact on our community and other communities."

LiDestri is prepared to continue producing sanitizer for as long as there is a need, Tatar says. He adds that while most office workers are working from home, they are actively coordinator with frontline warehouse workers to ensure production runs smoothly and safely.

As for the sanitizer itself, Gebo says departments are putting the sanitizer into smaller bottles, which will allow responders to take it out with them on calls. It’s a team effort to keep clean.

"It’s living and breathing with everything we do, every call we do to make sure we're protected and so is the community," Gebo says.

You can purchase Recipe 21 hand sanitizer online. A portion of proceeds go to the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp and CORE (Children of Restaurant Employees).


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