By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
UWCK delivering sanitizer to fight COVID-19
Project helps nonprofits, public entities
united way hand sanitizer
United Way of Central Kansas delivered hand sanitizer and several dispensers to Barton County offi cials Monday morning. It was part of a UWCK project to help nonprofi ts and public institutions with COVID-19 prevention efforts. Pictured in front are County Administrator Phil Hathcock, UWCK Executive Director Gaila Demel and UWCK Board member Mark Mingenback. In back are county commissioners Jim Daily, Kenny Schremmer, Jennifer Schartz and Homer Kruckenberg. - photo by DALE HOGG Great Bend Tribune

A project with roots early in the COVID-19 pandemic is now bearing fruit. The United Way of Central Kansas and a host of partners are providing free hand sanitizer to several nonprofits, schools and other public institutions. “It is just another example of the generosity of the community,” said UWCK Executive Director Gaila Demel. “Little acts make a big difference.”

UWCK had been getting the sanitizer from Fuller Industries for local nonprofits when Demel was contacted by Kansas Gas Service, a division of OneGas, about a donation to help with COVID recovery assistance. Next came a grant from Wheatland Electric and matching funds from the Robert and Patricia Schmidt foundation for a total of $3,000. 

“They had a certain amount of money they wanted us to have and start using for whatever the needs were in the community,” Demel said. “That kind of got the ball rolling.”

Demel had two goals – help nonprofits and public entities cope with virus prevention and hit high-traffic areas. “We just trying to do what we can to help minimize the spread,” she said.

She was able to get 50 of the dispensers. She has another 30 ordered, but they won’t be here until October due to supply chain issues.

So far, the units have gone to schools in the Rozel-based Pawnee Heights school district, Larned Elementary School, public libraries in Hoisington and Great Bend, the City of Hoisington, Barton County and the Salvation Army Store in Great Bend.

As for refills, “the product is more available now than it was,” Demel said. These units are provided by Fuller Industries and require Fuller refill bladders, but parts for both are difficult to come by.

“Fuller Industries reached out to Gaila early in on the pandemic and worked arrangement with the United Way to distribute hand sanitizer to many of the not-for-profits in the community,” said UWCK Board member Mark Mingenback. In all, 45 gallons of free sanitizer was delivered to various parts of the community.  

“We’re trying to do our part,” Demel said. “I really want to give a shout out again to everyone who has helped us with this.”

UWCK covers Barton and Pawnee counties and serves 22 community partners. For more information, visit or call 620-792-2403.