Joining Forces to Produce “Helping Hands” Hand Sanitizer for Community

What does a distillery, chemistry students and a power company all have in common?  The desire to create a hand sanitizer to support frontline workers and vulnerable Nova Scotians during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“What started out as a feeling of helplessness has turned into something really special,” said Julie Shore, co-owner of the Halifax Distilling Company.  “This is an example of many people wanting to do something to help during these challenging times and joining forces and expertise to make it happen.”

As the distillery was trying to source products, local chemistry students from St. Mary’s University were looking for a bit of help of their own, to execute plans to make hand sanitizer available to the public.  The students teamed up with the distillery, testing gelling agents in make shifts labs in their apartment to find just the right recipe for the project.

“As a university student, it is exciting to be able to put our research experience to use and help develop a product that will benefit frontline workers and vulnerable members of the community during this pandemic,” said Julie Dayrit, Chemistry Honours student, St. Mary’s University.

Nova Scotia Power is a neighbour of the distillery and is investing $25,000 toward this innovative idea.  It will help with the ingredients and production of the hand sanitizer.  Half of the product, called “Helping Hands”, will be donated to organizations that work with vulnerable Nova Scotians, while the other half will support frontline workers at Nova Scotia Power who are providing essential power service for customers during the pandemic.

“We are proud to partner with this local business and the bright minds behind this important product,” said Mark Sidebottom, Chief Operating Office, Nova Scotia Power.  “The hand sanitizer will not only benefit people in our community, but our employees who continue to work in the field and our plants across the province.” 

The Halifax Distilling Company is hoping to fill 40,000 bottles of hand sanitizer. 



Halifax Distilling Company 

Julie Shore, Co-owner


Julie Anne Dayrit

St. Mary’s University


Nova Scotia Power

Jacqueline Foster