The Board of Directors for Dogwood Health Trust recently approved the allocation of $10 million to address COVID-19 needs throughout the 18 county and Qualla boundary region of Western North Carolina.

The funds are to support the goal of “flattening the curve” in the COVID-19 epidemic here locally. Efforts are focused on supporting both the increased access to testing and advocating for social distancing measures; mitigating negative social impacts like food insecurity or educational disparities as well as shoring up regional healthcare resources by investing in the production of additional Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and hygiene supplies for healthcare workers.

Dogwood is partnering with Asheville-based Cultivated Cocktails (formerly H&H Distillery) and Southeastern Container Inc. in Buncombe County to produce and bottle hand sanitizer. Cultivated Cocktails is one of a few distilleries trying to curb the shortage of hygiene products by using the ethanol produced for whiskey and converting it to battle bacteria. “We began our mission with our Sanitizer Donation program to provide as much sanitizer as possible to our region with no charge,” said Taylor Howard, Founder/Owner, Cultivated Cocktails. “Partnering with Dogwood makes that possible, potentially helping thousands during this pandemic.”

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Southeastern joined the collaborative effort by offering to create bottles for the solution, which will be divided between health care professionals, first responders and nonprofits who are at the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the general public. “Partnering with Dogwood was truly the right thing to do,” said Doug Wehrkamp, President and COO, Southeastern Container Inc. “We are glad to help and truly hope we can do our part to help combat this horrible virus as quickly as possible.”

"As was the case with Kitsbow and others who have stepped up to meet a growing need in our region, Cultivated Cocktails (H&H Distillery) and Southeastern saw that need and responded,” said Antony Chiang, CEO for Dogwood Health Trust. “We’re happy to be able to fuel some of this momentum with investments and collaborative partnerships like this one. Not only are these innovative partnerships working on multiple levels to save lives, they’re that ‘win, win, win’ that Dogwood is looking for that benefits local companies, employees and our community.”

Dogwood continues to look for opportunities where the Trusts’ engagement will catalyze the capacity to do more where needed, and where coordinated effort will ensure an equitable and wise distribution of resources to multiple sectors and geographic areas throughout the region. Innovative partners are encouraged to reach out to Dogwood via their website or by emailing covid@dogwoodhealthtrust.org.

Dogwood Health Trust is a North Carolina nonprofit corporation with the sole purpose of dramatically improving the health and well-being of all people and communities of Western North Carolina. Dogwood Health Trust became operational upon the sale of Mission Health’s assets to HCA Healthcare and is the recipient of the net proceeds of the sale. To learn more, please visit www.dht.org.

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