With so many of them struggling to find themselves, 2009 CNN hero Doc Hendley, a former bartender, wanted to do something to help.
Hendley and his team of volunteers began combining care packages in his hometown of Boone, North Carolina. The team distributes 40 meals and other household essentials packs to eliminate restaurant workers across the state.
“The problem is that revenue for these places is still struggling and many workers are still out of work because businesses are trying to run extra thin,” says Hendley. “A lot of those workers are living for paychecks, or trying to pay their way through school, or trying to take care of single mother children.”
Boxes include fresh fruits and vegetables, coffee, fresh toasted bread and toilet paper, and other food and hygiene items. Hendley said their hope is to help them survive and thrive in this time of uncertainty.
Since March, his company has already served more than 72,000 meals.
“These boxes have become something that our community is really looking forward to every week,” Hendley said. “I saw a mama come in and pick up a box for her and her children. And literally, when she opened it, she started crying.”
Wine to Water has reorganized its work internationally, filling a critical gap in access and education for people with clean, running water shortages in remote areas. The group operates in Tanzania, the Dominican Republic, Colombia, Kenya and Nepal.
“We are able to move from our focus very quickly, which is usually on water and sanitation, and focus on hygiene, especially on other things that help to reduce the spread of coronavirus,” says Hendley.
At the time of the epidemic, the company’s water filtration plants around the world began producing large numbers of portable hand washing stations, which were placed in heavily shipped areas such as police stations, health care clinics and large hospitals.
Wine to Water’s international Kovid-19 response programs have reached 32,000 people so far.
“It is very inspiring to see how many people are backing and supporting our programs around the world,” says Hendley. “When the sun comes out after the storm is over, I think we’re going to get this stronger and more together than ever before.”