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Hand Sanitizer for Incarcerated & At-risk Groups

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We at the Science Policy Group (SPG) at UCSF are currently working on a mutual aid project to distribute hand sanitizer to vulnerable populations in the Bay Area living & working in congregate settings, with a focus on: people who are incarcerated, people living in transitional housing, people in public housing complexes/underserved communities & unhoused people. Because of the unique policy challenges and public health risks within jails and prisons, we have been and will continue to focus on incarcerated groups and  inhabitants within transitional housing. We have been fortunate to be able to serve people in public housing projects and will continue to do so to the best of our ability (see below for what we've already done). 
Every $10 you donate to our mutual aid project can provide 20 people in our communities with hand sanitizer.

Our work with incarcerated populations has been supported by Amend at UCSF, led by Dr. Brie Williams.  We have partnered with Jamal Trulove to provide sanitizer to people living in public housing complexes and underserved communities. 

The Bay Area’s incarcerated population is extremely vulnerable to the rising threat of COVID-19. Without immediate action, the infection of this population will severely undercut our current attempts to “flatten the curve.” 

Incarcerated populations have few defenses against the coming COVID-19 storm. This population is composed disproportionately of people of color, individuals with mental illness or without homes, those with substance abuse issues, and other underserved members of society. They are denied the option of social distancing and burdened with high rates of chronic medical conditions. With limited resources and high susceptibility, incarcerated populations will not be able to counter the potential wildfire-like spread of infection without intervention.  Because thousands of people go in and out of prisons/jails every day, these outbreaks are a public health risk for us all.  Furthermore, they have the potential to overburden our hospital systems, especially in rural towns where prisons are located.


In the Bay area, five SF Sheriff’s deputies have tested positive for COVID-19, and the Santa Rita jail confirmed its first positive COVID-19 case on Saturday, April 4th. As a frightening glimpse into the future, Rikers Island (New York City’s main jail complex) currently has the highest COVID-19 infection rate in the world. With your help, we can avoid a similar crisis here in the Bay Area.

Since social distancing is not an option, incarcerated individuals must rely on secondary measures like hand sanitizer use to prevent COVID-19 spread.

We are collecting donations to procure supplies, manufacture, and distribute alcohol-based hand sanitizer to people incarcerated in Bay Area jails/prisons as well as those residing in underserved Bay Area communities and public housing projects. Our sanitizer is being produced by UCSF scientists in accordance with World Health Organization protocol.

Every $10 you donate to our mutual aid project can provide 20 people in our communities with hand sanitizer.

Thanks to a generous donation of $2000 from DSA SF and a $5000 grant from California Wellness Foundation, we have been able to hit the ground running. We have already manufactured and distributed:
           -4000 bottles of sanitizer for each inmate in San Quentin State Prison
           -1000 bottles for San Mateo County (Maple Street Correctional facility & Maguire Correctional Facility,)
           -2300 bottles of hand sanitizer for public housing projects, Sunnydale and Oakdale.
           - 30 gallons (900 bottles-worth) for SF County jails
           -1000 bottles-worth for SF County Jails, with refills.  We will continue to serve and refill SF County Jail until the end of the shelter-in-place.

Our next batch will be distributed to 6900 people incarcerated in 2 Bay Area Prisons and 2500 people in underserved communities & public housing complexes. In partnership with Jamal Trulove, we have supplied sanitizer and educational materials to the historically underserved public housing complexes, including Sunnydale & Oakdale Housing projects. To date, we have provided 6000 incarcerated people with hand sanitizer and distributed 2300 bottles to underserved communities. 

With the materials we currently have, we are serving about ~15,000 people by the end of the next 12-14 days.

We (Jack, Tom, Elina, Antara) have taken on substantial personal debt to be able to serve these groups and will need more funds to be able to continue to do so.  With your help, we can serve even more people in our communities.

Incarcerated populations we are serving and hope to serve reside in: San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Marin, Sonoma, Napa, Solano, and Sacramento County.

Unfortunately, this is not a tax-deductible donation. However, your support is essential to ensure the safety of both these vulnerable populations and the rest of the Bay Area’s citizens. We appreciate any amount you can donate! If you'd like to make a tax-deductible donation, please message us through the GoFundMe and we can get that set-up.

*We are currently finalizing logistics for other correctional facilities, and do not anticipate any issues during this process. However, if for any reason we are unable to distribute the hand sanitizer to correctional facilities, our sanitizer will be distributed to other vulnerable populations in transitional housing, shelters, and unhoused persons living in encampments. We will also continue to serve those living in public housing complexes and underserved communities. We have existing relationships with the appropriate community partners to execute this backup plan.

Any funds remaining at the end of this project (unlikely to be any) will go into a non-UCSF managed account to support the efforts of members of the Science Policy Group for mutual aid projects like this one,  science advocacy, training in science policy , and community events.


  • Anonymous
    • $25 
    • 3 yrs
  • Elyssia Tingley
    • $20 
    • 4 yrs
  • Anonymous
    • $10 
    • 4 yrs
  • Siona Gupta
    • $15 
    • 4 yrs
  • Anonymous
    • $25 
    • 4 yrs

Fundraising team: The Science Policy Group at UCSF (5)

Elina Kostyanovskaya
San Francisco, CA
Jack Stevenson
Team member
Antara Rao
Team member
Larissa Maier
Team member
Thomas Pospiech
Team member

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