Sun setting over a body of water.
PHOTO: oatsy40

Last year at this time, mini hand sanitizer giveaways at trade shows were likely just another leftover item in the proverbial swag closet. These days, it's an opportunity to be a philanthropist and potential life-saver.

That's exactly where a recruitment advertising technology company iHire found itself recently. Company officials realized they had about 1,000 bottles of hand sanitizer stored in a St. Louis warehouse 800 miles away from its corporate headquarters. iHire exhibits at several HR trade shows nationwide and hands out company-branded hand sanitizers to booth visitors. "When COVID-19 started to emerge in the US, we joked that we'll be prepared, given the 1,000 bottles of hand sanitizer we had in our warehouse," said Kristina Kelly, brand manager at iHire. "But, as the situation progressed, it became clear what we needed to do."

Enter CEO Steve Flook. The company shipped the bottles from the warehouse to its president and CEO's house in Frederick, Md. They began reaching out to local healthcare facilities and businesses who needed these items. The company identified eight different healthcare and social services organizations around Frederick.

Then Flook hit the road in his maroon 2003 GMC Sierra 1500HD, and for about three hours he made deliveries, book-ending his workday. He's now partnering with Aaron Horst, his company's director of engineering, to make 3D printing headbands that attach to face masks to prevent ear irritation among healthcare workers. They've printed and donated about 25 headbands to date. "Everyone on the phone was extremely gracious for our gesture," Flook said of the hand-sanitizer deliveries.

"One woman even cried; she was so grateful to receive a desperately needed item. With 1,000 bottles, we were able to allot 100 or so to each organization. It was a humbling experience with a little bit of irony. A small bottle of hand sanitizer that we once gave away by the hundreds at trade shows - without thinking twice about it - became an invaluable item to a community in need," said Flook.

iHire CEO Steve Flook and family.

In other cases of "Some Good News," …

Dogs Show Up for Companionship Amid Quarantine

Mikayla Rose Becker and fiance John, a young couple in Apple Valley, Calif., had been quarantining due to COVID-19 like most of the rest of the world on Easter Sunday when they got a surprise at their door. Two stray dogs showed up. Is there a better gift for a lonely couple?

"They haven't left our sides since, and we named the smaller one Angel because we believe they were sent to us to help us through this quarantine," said Rose Becker. The other one is named Wolf. "Even if they have owners and they come forward these two dogs have saved our relationship. They have brought us so much happiness and taken our minds off of being stuck at home. This isn't a human feel good story, but it is an animal one and animals are holding families together throughout this pandemic."

Rose Becker runs Uncensored Threads, which sells caps and clothing and also promises to donate 60% of the proceeds to mental health support efforts.

Angel and Wolf sleep in the couple's indoor shed every night and then run around the yard all day long chasing birds, bunnies and squirrels. "They are the happiest girls and give tons of kisses," Rose Becker said. "They don't know manners very well so we are trying to train them to sit, stay, the basic commands. They don't play fetch well yet, but they follow us around the yard during the day while we are working on the yard. They are the best of friends. I was giving one of them a bath and had them separated for 10 minutes and the smaller one started howling because she didn't know where her best friend was."

Dogs Angel - left and Wolf sitting down.
Angel (left) and Wolf.

High Schooler Thinks of the Needy

Conway (Arkansas) High School student Maggie Batson, 16, is spending her quarantine thinking of fellow students in need. Batson, a junior, lost her soccer season due to the COVID-19 shutdown but is not sulking, for sure.

Instead, she is finding innovative ways to give back to her community. She created a charity to provide box lunches for needy students at her school. She created a gofundme page and posts prom-themed photos to social media to keep people aware of her cause and entertained. Here's an awareness video Batson made with boyfriend Matthew Stephens.

"COVID-19 has given Conway kids an unexpected Spring Break extension," Batson wrote on her gofundme page. "While some students are celebrating, others are now left without stable meals for the next few months. … Originally this campaign was set to end after the week of prom, but because of the overwhelming support we have received, we want to keep this website running all year."

Got any good news? We're always listening. Send your feel-good stories to [email protected] Check out the first piece in our ongoing series to help keep the good vibes coming in a time of crisis.