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Mask donation.

Early in the pandemic, hand sanitizer was in short supply. As large brands sold and donated most of their product to hospitals, families struggled with securing their own supplies. Recognizing this need, distilleries across New Orleans began to pivot from making spirits to lifting them, using their equipment to create home-made hand sanitizer.

NOAHH recognizes the importance of a safe home. Knowing that many Habitat homebuyers are essential workers, Habitat reached out to Celebration Distillation, Happy Raptor Distilling, and Seven Three Distilling. They were more than willing to support the community. Between these three companies, over $3,500 of hand sanitizer was distributed to Habitat partner families. “We’re named for the 73 neighborhoods of New Orleans,” said Tristan Johnson, General Manager at Seven Three Distilling. “With that comes a responsibility to give back all we can to our community.”

The Renaudin Foundation donated over 6,000 masks. They have also been involved in supporting the mental health needs of the local community through free online panels and other resources.

New Orleans Habitat also received an unexpected gift of masks from long-time volunteers. A resident of Brooksfield, WI, Mary Felkner, along with her husband, have volunteered with NOAHH ever since Hurricane Katrina. Since they could not come down to volunteer, Mary pledged to sew and ship homemade masks for Habitat families.

“We fell in love with New Orleans from our very first visit,” said Mary. “After Katrina, we made it our mission to return every year and help rebuild. We even adopted our own New Orleans-inspired tradition–making red beans and rice for our annual Thanksgiving Dinner. I was happy that we could contribute in our own way by constructing masks for Habitat families. We can’t wait until things are safe again because we will be back!”

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