Save the World Brewing Company co-owner Quynh Rathkamp is busy at her sewing machine making masks for friends in the medical community. Staff photo by Jennifer Fierro
Save the World Brewing Company is known for its award-winning beers. But now, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s also becoming known for handmade face masks and hand sanitizer.
The brewery staff recently took up sewing machines to make masks for health care personnel.
“We’re looking to send them to places of need,” said Save the World’s Quynh Rathkamp, who co-owns the brewery with her husband, David. Opened in 2012, it’s the first 100 percent philanthropic production craft brewery in the country.
Both are former physicians, so they understand the importance of protective medical gear.
To help meet the demand from the medical community, the couple is also accepting donations of handmade masks in exchange for bottles of the brewery’s beer
“It’s for anyone who brings a homemade mask,” Quynh said.
The deal with Save the World is simple. For every one mask given to the brewery, the donor receives a 12-ounce bottle of beer.
The tasting room is open noon-6 p.m. Monday-Saturday for curbside and ordering at the window. Donors can bring their handmade masks and get hand sanitizer. Contact the brewery in advance at 830-637-7654 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
The Rathkamps have kept up with their friends in the medical field and know the dire need for masks. Quynh Rathkamp noted that a Dallas hospital is allowing only one mask per staff member per shift. The same is true for a friend of the couple’s who works in an urgent care facility in New Rochelle, New York. The state has been hit hard by the virus. That friend emphasized the need for more protective equipment, especially N95 masks, which trap 95 percent of airborne particles. The novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19 is spread by respiratory droplets, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The need prompted the Rathkamps to recruit seven others to make cloth face masks to go over the N95 masks. The handmade masks also will have a slit to allow the wearer to insert a regular surgical mask, Quynh Rathkamp said, adding that most hospitals have surgical masks.
“(Ours) prolong the lives of their masks and the effectiveness,” she said.
Rathkamp said she isn’t a master seamstress, but she certainly looks at home in front of a sewing machine as she studied, turned, and angled material to begin the process.
Before embarking on this endeavor, Rathkamp was researching which cloth masks were the most effective in keeping medical personnel safe. She received some insight from a webpage with photos and instructions forwarded to her by emergency room doctors and nurses.
“We’re just going to make as much as we can, and we’ll send a shipment,” Rathkamp said. “They need them now. Every mask we provide allows (health care workers) to be more protected.”
Another current project of Save the World is hand sanitizer. The company is making and bottling it to give to area nonprofits and organizations that are desperate for it.
“We thankfully have industrial-grade alcohol,” Rathkamp said. “This is more for our community. There’s a lot of need.”
The Save the World staff is making hand sanitizer that is 62 percent alcohol with essential oils “to make it tolerable for people,” Rathkamp said.
“The recommended amount is 60 percent alcohol,” she added, noting the mix is diluted to ensure it’s safe for human skin and effective for protecting human health.
Because alcohol is flammable, the hand sanitizer can’t be shipped, but it can be picked up and dropped off at Highland Lakes facilities working to help people who need food, clothing, and other services.
“Everybody is having trouble finding hand sanitizer: hospitals, nursing homes, shelters,” Rathkamp said. “They absolutely need it.”
The Save the World sanitizer is a spray and requires a spray bottle. The Rathkamps have used up their supply of bottles and need more. Medical personnel or nonprofits can bring their own bottles to fill until the brewery gets another shipment.
“We want to make it available to anyone who needs it,” Rathkamp said of the sanitizer. “We’re reaching out to institutions to give them the first availability.”