EDINBURG — A line of scores of cars wound through the parking lot of Bert Ogden Arena and out onto the frontage road Thursday, all people waiting to get their dole of free hand sanitizer produced and distributed by Austin-based liquor manufacturer Tito’s Handmade Vodka.
The company intended to distribute 27,000 375-milliliter bottles of free hand sanitizer Thursday, over 2,500 gallons worth of the stuff, and demand certainly appeared to be high.
Edinburg is the latest in a string of cities to have benefited from Tito’s hand sanitizer distributions since March, a list that includes Austin, Dallas, San Antonio, Houston and Brownsville.
“After giving away 20,000 bottles in record time at our last drive in Brownsville, we want to bring our efforts back to the Rio Grande Valley – this time to Edinburg – to give away an additional 27,000 bottles and do what we can to continue to help the community during COVID-19,” a statement from the company reads.
Edinburg Mayor Richard Molina said hand sanitizer remains in demand in Hidalgo County, mentioning posts he’d seen on social media from people searching for it.
“There’s a shortage of it. It’s hard to get a hold of hand sanitizer sometimes because as you know some of these people have been completely emptying our shelves at our local grocery stores, H-E-B, Walmart, Lowes, and it’s just something that I think is great,” he said.
Molina said the hand sanitizer distribution was particularly necessary because the ongoing struggle to contain the COVID-19 pandemic in the Valley.
“This is just a great, great time for them to do this, it really means a lot to us as a city and to our community, especially with the death-toll not declining,” he said.
The city helped with traffic control at the site Thursday, Molina said, the latest in a series of large-scale pandemic response efforts in Edinburg that include one of the largest testing drives in the country and food distribution.
“We were basically coordinating big events very, very quickly, so Bert Ogden reached out to us,” he said.