Memphis kindness blog, April 7: Old Dominick produces hand sanitizer

By , Daily Memphian Updated: April 07, 2020 11:09 PM CT | Published: April 07, 2020 4:00 AM CT

As we navigate through this difficult time of dealing with the coronavirus, it is important to capture those instances where Memphians are coming together for each other. Those acts of kindness, generous moments and just feel-good instances happening all around us. Our reporters will be out looking for these. We also want to hear from you. If you have a nomination for our Memphis Kindness blog, email us at Thank you for reading. — Ronnie Ramos, executive editor

Editor’s Note: The Daily Memphian is making our coronavirus coverage accessible to all readers — no subscription needed. Our journalists continue to work around the clock to provide you with the extensive coverage you need; if you can subscribe, please do

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April 07, 2020

SisterReach cancels festival, looks to meet immediate needs

5:21 PM CT, April 7

SisterReach has postponed its inaugural fundraising soul music event planned for June 13 at Shelby Farms until 2021.

Instead, Cherisse Scott, SisterReach founder and chief executive officer, wants to partner with churches and organizations and support families’ practical needs.

“We have an amazing opportunity to use our resources to help support some of the immediate needs Memphians have like housing, food and utility assistance funding,” Scott said in a release.

From April 8-15 groups can apply for the assistance online.

Funding will come from money earmarked for national recording artists compensation.


Fifth birthday celebrated with drive-by bash

3:25 PM CT, April 7

Last week, Lawson Walker was supposed to celebrate her fifth birthday.

However, due to the coronavirus there was no bounce house party like she wanted. Her mother, Mollie Walker, wanted to make sure her daughter was still celebrated on her special day.

So, she created a Facebook drive-by event that was met with a large response. About 40-50 people drove by in Collierville. They decorated their cars with signs and balloons, honked their horns, blew bubbles and waved to her daughter.

Lawson said it was the best birthday she had ever had.

“Take that coronavirus,” Mollie Walker said. “Joy cannot be stopped.”


Old Dominick begins hand sanitizer production for the needy

1:56 PM CT, April 7

In an effort to get much-need sanitation supplies to Shelby County’s low-income and homeless population and help reduce the spread of COVID-19 among the region’s most vulnerable populations, Old Dominick has begun producing hand sanitizer at its Downtown distillery.

“This week we’ve shifted from whiskey and vodka production to hand sanitizer production,” master distiller Alex Castle said. “Because we already make high-proof alcohol, we’re able to make the hand sanitizer with that.”

The distillery is able to produce about 200 gallons of sanitizer a day and is packaging them into individual six-ounce bottles.

Castle said the bottles will then be distributed throughout Memphis’ low-income communities and the homeless population.

The production shift will continue for the rest of this week thanks to a Shelby County Commission resolution that allocated emergency funding to the distillery for sanitizer production.



After old masks found, volunteers bring them back to life

12:14 PM CT, April 7

As protective gear is in short demand, Baptist Memorial Health Care felt fortunate to find about 30,000 masks in storage. Unfortunately, the elastic to hold the masks in place was not usable. 

More than 400 members of the community helped sew the masks and return them back to Baptist, so those on the front lines can use them as they treat sick patients in waiting rooms.

The masks were scheduled to be picked up Tuesday and put into use.

Read more here.


April 06, 2020

Faithful gather in drive-up prayer circle at Saint Francis

10:40 PM CT, April 6

Julie Abell’s husband has been in Saint Francis Hospital-Bartlett a few times. When she thought about what she could do for the patients and staff there, fighting the fight of their lives, it came to her.

With a sound system she found an hour earlier, she staged a praise vigil in the parking lot. People in 60 cars arrived, hazards flashing in the dark.

That was last week.

Monday, Abell pulled it off again. This time at Saint Francis Hospital-Memphis. In a circle of cars, like campers around a fire, strains of an amplified “Amazing Grace” carried over the front parking lot and to the glassy hospital windows above.

“We can’t see them, but they can see us,” Abell called out to the crowd. “Let them know we are here, behind them 100%.”

Beside his GMC 4x4, Mark Kovacs knelt on one knee and silently bowed his head, quickly wiping away a tear as Bill Wilson talked out a prayer that reverberated across the concrete and occasional motor sound on Park Avenue.

“Lord, you care about the workers. You care about the people who have coronavirus,” he said.

Around him, arms with outstretched palms gently waved in the darkness.

“I’ve been seeing this happen in other places,” said nursing assistant Napheteria Graves, just finishing her shift.

“People just stopped everything they were doing and starting praying. I just kept thinking, ‘When is Memphis going to do this?'’’ she said.

“This really makes me feel good.”

Abell, a member of Bellevue Baptist, promoted the vigil on Bellevue’s Instagram account for specific things parishioners are doing to help out.

“I used other social media. I have only lived here 3-and-a-half years. I don’t know tons of people, but I know people who do,” she said.

“I know a lot of people feel there’s not much they can do right now. This is safe. You can show your appreciation and encouragement.”

Kovacs was in the parking lot in Bartlett last week too.

“My wife is the CFO,” he says after a long silence. “She’s in there now. She’s here all the time, on weekends, in the evening, just to let the staff know the administrators are behind you.”

These days, he said, she’s spending hours trying to track down PPE, “getting it from other hospitals, using other vendors, buying it around the world,” he said, shaking his head.

“There’s a celebration now every time someone gets discharged,” he said. “She’s a number-cruncher, but it’s all different now. When a COVID patient is discharged, she feels, ‘I wasn’t on the front line providing care, but I contributed in some way. I helped find gear for them to wear.'”

As soon as the prayer ended, Daryl Moore, supervisor of Saint Francis valet parking, began singing, his rich tenor voice capping the vigil in the feel of a Memphis-style revival.

At the end, horns blared in an unrelenting wall of sound. 



coronavirus COVID-19 kindness


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