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Antarctic sanitiser donation warms the heart

Antarctic sanitiser donation warms the heart

Antarctic sanitiser donation warms the heart

6 May 2020

Don McCrae, Team Leader at SASH Salvation Army Supported Housing in Hobart, holds a container of hand sanitser created and donated by the Australian Antarctic Division (AAD). Screenshot courtesy the Australian Antarctic Program, led by the AAD.

By Jessica Morris

It’s known to get chilly in Hobart, but the Salvos Housing team never anticipated a partnership with the Australian Antarctic Division (AAD) would warm them up for the winter.

Hand sanitiserThe AAD’s Ice-O-Lotion sanitiser promises to keep flippers (and hands) nice and clean.

Last week, the scientific laboratory, based in Hobart, donated 20 litres of custom-made hand sanitiser to Hobart Salvation Army Housing, enabling volunteers and staff to continue their front-line work during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“When we saw the need in the community, we thought it would be good to use some of the chemicals we had sitting around to make it into hand sanitiser,” said Dirk Westfield, Program Leader and a scientist with the Australian Antarctic Program, led by the AAD.

“We are all thinking about the impact this pandemic has on the community. We are a part of this community so working with the Salvos to try and ease some of the shortages they are facing is a great feeling.”

Using a recipe provided by the World Health Organisation, the AAD created 25 litres of Ice-O-Lotion. And after mentioning the project to the lord mayor of Hobart, Anna Reynolds, they contacted Don McCrae, team leader at SASH Salvation Army Supported Housing in Hobart.

It was a welcome donation, as staff struggled to access sanitiser due to shortages and restrictions.

“Instead of shutting up shop we are actually working on the front lines with people, and trying to support them where they need it most. This enables us to continue those safe-working practices,” said Don.

Don McCrae (left) and Annie Carr, Street to Home Primary Homelessness Champion for the Salvos, accepts the donation of sanitiser from Australian Antarctic Division scientists Dr Dirk Welsford and Dr Laura Wise.

“This donation enables us to share sanitiser with Salvo corps, people at the Safe Night Space (for the primary homeless community) and ourselves. It has been absolutely brilliant for us.”

The Salvation Army is one of a few organisations in Tasmania working on the coalface during the pandemic. This made the donation crucial to the wellbeing of their team and hundreds of locals experiencing homelessness.

“I’d really like to thank the AAD for looking after us and thinking about us in this way,” said Don. “It’s really unexpected, but it’s been an absolutely brilliant idea and we really welcome the support.”

Who would have thought an Antarctic-based sanitiser could be like a warm (albeit sanitised, and socially distanced) hug to the heart?

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