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Long Beach Pride donates 180,000 bottles of hand sanitizer to Long Beach Unified School District

Long Beach Pride Hand Sanitizer

Ron Hoppe, director of purchasing and contracts with the Long Beach Unified School District, holds and is surrounded by a few of the 180,000 bottles of hand sanitizer. They were donated to the district by Long Beach Pride. Photo: Aaron Peterman

LONG BEACH — It was the largest number of items from a single donor that the Long Beach Unified School District had ever received.

Four semi-trailer trucks, on three different days, dropped off approximately 180,000 bottles of hand sanitizer earlier this month at the district’s warehouse in North Long Beach. The gel will be used to help fight COVID-19 as the district prepares to open later this month for in-person distanced learning with transitional kindergarten through fifth grade students.

Long Beach Pride made the donation to the school district.

“It’s a tremendous gift to us,” said Ron Hoppe, the district’s director of purchasing and contracts. “It’s a great display of support for the students and the district.

“It’s probably the largest donation of items that the district has ever received,” Hoppe said.

The district didn’t face a shortage of hand sanitizer, it had been stocking up since last year when officials thought the district might re-open, but ultimately didn’t.

“This supply will supplement what we have,” Hoppe said.

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Long Beach Pride acquired the massive shipment of hand sanitizer from Ross. The discount department store notified Jon Dellaria from One Thousand Cranes Foundation, a nonprofit charity, in February. Ross stipulated that the hand sanitizer would have to be donated to an organization that benefits children or is a 501 C(3).

Dellaria knows Long Beach Pride through a mutual contact (On-Stage Rentals, which helps stage and light the Pride Festival), and asked the LGBTQ nonprofit group if they had any suggestions of where to donate the hand sanitizer.

Pride officials suggested the school district. Teachers had volunteered at Long Beach Pride Festival’s Family Fun Zone in 2017, 2018, and 2019, and the district had announced their re-opening plans.

“It’s one small element in the protocol for dealing with the pandemic,” said Elsa Martinez, president of Long Beach Pride.

“They tell you to wear a mask, social distance, and wash your hands. In the absence of a sink in every classroom, we have hand sanitizer.”

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Teachers will return to classrooms Monday to prepare for students’ return as distance learning continues. Schools have prepared for students by providing correct spacing between desks, updating air filtration systems, planning for safe entry and exit points.

Also, each school will have a “care room” where students will go if they develop COVID-19 symptoms during school.

If Los Angeles County meets the state’s public health criteria, middle and high school students will be able to attend partial in-person learning on this timeline:

  • April 19 – Grade 12
  • April 20 – Grades 6, 7, and 8
  • April 26 – Grades 9, 10, and 11

About the author

Phillip Zonkel

Award-winning journalist Phillip Zonkel spent 17 years at Long Beach's Press-Telegram, where he was the first reporter in the paper's history to have a beat covering the city's vibrant LGBTQ. He also created and ran the popular and innovative LGBTQ news blog, Out in the 562.

He won two awards and received a nomination for his reporting on the local LGBTQ community, including a two-part investigation that exposed anti-gay bullying of local high school students and the school districts' failure to implement state mandated protections for LGBTQ students.

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