Create solutions and spread kindness and hope. That's the message one Ottawa local is spreading through the capital city, by creating thousands of free bottles of hand sanitizer for those who need it the most. After getting requests for hand sanitizer in Ottawa from doctors, nurses, midwives and people with cancer, Jordan Harding’s project is stepping-up a notch.

Jordan Harding — who was born in New Brunswick but moved to Ottawa as a teen — is paving the way for a kinder and more hopeful Ottawa, by creating and donating hand sanitizer for frontline workers and at-risk Ottawans.

Since the beginning of March, Harding has distributed more than 2,000 bottles of free hand sanitizer, which he personally bottles up and labels from his Ottawa condo.

Harding and his girlfriend work from 5 p.m. until 12 a.m., since he is still working his regular 9-5 job.

Speaking to Narcity about his mission, Harding explained, “In mid-March, when Ottawa had its first confirmed COVID-19 case, I noticed people becoming increasingly discouraged when they couldn’t find sanitizer in retail locations.” 

He explained that he was inspired to help after seeing a distressed elderly woman, unable to find the product in a local store.

Reaching out to a friend who owns a sanitization company, Harding purchased several litres of medical-grade gel hand sanitizer, and filled up a small number of 50 ml bottles. 

Taking to Reddit, he offered the supplies to anybody in need or immunocompromised, free of charge.

The response was “overwhelming,” explained Harding.

Harding received requests from cancer and dialysis patients, people living with autoimmune diseases, and people caring for elderly and immunocompromised family members.

He also sent bottles to nurses, doctors, midwives, pharmacists, and personal support workers, as well as military police officers. 

While Harding is pleased to help those in need, he noted that it’s “heartbreaking to hear of unmet needs and losses during the pandemic.”

Fortunately, assistance was on-hand to help Harding keep up with the demand.

“As news spread, friends, Reddit users and local businesses reached out to offer their time and resources, so we’ve been able to scale considerably in a short amount of time,” he explained.

“I started this project with a few dozen bottles and a Reddit post. Now we are a team of at least 25 volunteers, supported by personal and corporate donations, expecting to reach our 2000th delivery next week.” 

The current operation involves sourcing hand sanitizer from local distilleries, filling and labelling bottles, and delivering them to high-need Ottawa residents with a team of volunteers.

While there’s no charge for their products, Harding is accepting online donations to allow the project to continue. More information can be found on the brand-new Handsan website.

“We don’t want cost, time, and transportation to be barriers to people accessing sanitizer right now,” he told Narcity.

“I want to do whatever I can to create solutions and spread kindness and hope,” Harding said. “I also hope it sends the message that we’re all in this together, trying to slow the spread of COVID-19.”

Harding added that he’s been inspired to leave a positive impact on the world, in honour of his brother who passed away unexpectedly last year.

“He touched so many lives, and he still wanted to do more to give back to others. I hope that I can honour him with this project.”

We’re sure he’s very proud indeed.

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