Brian Varela / Petersburg Pilot
Several hand washing stations have been set up throughout town to provide residents with basic hygiene needs at a time when the public is urged to wash their hands regularly to prevent the transmission and contraction of COVID-19. Ashley Kawashima, of the borough's incident command team, said the stations were set up for the growing local population of individuals who don't have access to running water. They would use the Parks and Recreation Center and Petersburg Public Library, for their basic hygiene needs, but both locations have closed their doors, said Kawashima. "We wanted to be able to provide access to at minimum the basic need of washing your hands as it is so vital right now for people to be doing," wrote Kawashima in a statement to the Pilot. Kawashima and Erin Michael, who is also on the incident command team, came up with the idea for the stations while brainstorming ideas on how to meet the immediate needs of local citizens who are experiencing homelessness and housing insecurity. The idea for a hand washing station was given to Kris Norris who then came up with the design of the station. A foot pump is used to pump water from one bucket to a faucet on another nearby bucket so that people can wash their hands. Soap and paper towels are also provided. As of Tuesday, the hand washing stations were available outside of the Petersburg Public Library and the Petersburg Post Office. A hand washing station is available every Monday evening outside of the Narrows Inn for their weekly free meal. A hand washing station is also available every Wednesday evening at the Petersburg Baptists Church for their weekly free meal. Kawashima said she plans on placing future hand washing stations outside of Hammer & Wikan Grocery, the Trading Union and the emergency room at Petersburg Medical Center. The Petersburg Rotary Club got involved with the project to refill the hand washing stations on a regular basis, said Dave Berg, of the Petersburg Rotary Club. Hammer & Wikan donated the materials to make the first set of stations.
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