Central Texans step up to help others as COVID-19 cases climb

Texans continue to help Texans as businesses and people continue to deal with the effects of social distancing guidelines and stay-at-home orders due to the coronavirus COVID-19.

As cases continue to climb, here are a few of those stepping up to give back.

RELATED: Driftwood sotol distillery Desert Door making hand sanitizer in response to coronavirus

Georgetown, Texas 

Normally the Eagle Innovation Center, or EIC at Georgetown High School is filled with students, faculty and hands-on classes. 

“Your traditional woodworking equipment, some CNC equipment, we have laser cutters, some 3-D printers, metal working equipment.” explained Robert Thomas, facilitator of the EIC. 

Now, with school out due to COVID-19 the center has been transformed into Thomas’ “one man factory” where he produces free medical shields. 

Thanks to his original, and innovative design, Thomas can create four of the face shields in “about six minutes.” You can download the design here.

Saturday, Thomas had already sent hundreds to frontline workers in Williamson County free of charge. 

RELATED: Hutto graphic design business makes face shields to help with COVID-19 response

“I’m grateful to them for what they’re doing. This isn’t brave, this isn’t hard, this is just something I can do, what they can do is honorable.” 

If you would like to support funding materials for the production of face shields email: communityrelations@georgetownisd.org 

“I’m grateful to the school, district and the high school that they’ve made the investment in providing this kind of environment for students. I think what we’re going through right now illustrates the value in the skillset the students can develop in this type of environment represents, as well as the value that spaces like this represent.” said Thomas. 

Austin, Texas 

Still Austin Whiskey Company, a distillery is also using equipment on-hand to help the community and those on the front line. 

The distillery is still selling liquor online and through curbside pickup, but has temporarily shifted production, to manufacture free hand sanitizer. 

RELATED: Austin's Couch Potatoes looking for volunteers to help sew masks from home

 “We hand make all of our whiskey from grain to glass so we had all of the things that you need actually to make hand sanitizer.” explained Chris Seals, co-founder and CEO. 

Seals says the ethyl alcohol the company would normally put into a barrel to make into whiskey is instead, made into hand sanitizer. Seals says the company is on track to produce “about a hundred thousand gallons of hand sanitizer” for Austinites over the next few months.  

“I’ve seen so many good things happening even during this whole crisis. We’re really happy to be able to help a little bit.” said Seals. 

The distillery is accepting donations to offset the cost of manufacturing the free hand sanitizer. Seals says 100% of the donation will go back into making hand sanitizer. 

RELATED: How you can help service industry workers furloughed or laid off due to coronavirus

Two free bottles of hand sanitizer are free to anyone who needs them. The company is also giving hand sanitizer to Austin and Travis County government efforts, those on the front lines -- and senior meal delivery efforts, which have been seeing an increase in need. 

Austin, Texas 

Meals on Wheels of Central Texas typically receives 20-30 calls of interest a week. A spokesperson says that number has more than doubled over the last month. 

“The isolation, the social isolation we’re all feeling right now, that’s what meals on wheels clients feel every day, sometimes for years and years of their life.” said Heather Allard, program manager of the non-profit's “PALS” program

Saturday, Meals on Wheels of Central Texas delivered groceries to 570 people and pet food to 200. 

RELATED: Local restaurants offering delivery, curbside and take out service after restaurants and bars shut down

“It’s just so important that our community is pulling together to make sure that our clients have not only needed supplies for themselves but their needed supplies for their companions.” said Allard. 

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