WINTER HAVEN – Since the onset of the pandemic, Marilyn Lacey, the owner of Home Remedy Winter Haven, has manufactured and donated more than a thousand bottles of hand sanitizer to assisted living facilities, post offices and clinics in the area.

Lacey, who got married Monday and is now Marilyn Amaral, said she has donated 1,078 bottles so far and that she is also helping a group of ladies create and distribute handmade cloth face masks out of her shop in downtown Winter Haven.

“It's our way of giving back to the community,” Lacey said.

Hand sanitizer has been donated to Bond Clinic, the Central Florida Health Care clinic on Cypress Gardens Boulevard, Spring Haven, Howard Heights, the two post offices in Winter Haven and the post office in Haines City.

Prior to the pandemic Lacey sold bath and body products and was not licensed to manufacture or sell hand sanitizer. When the federal government relaxed manufacturing licensing restrictions, making it possible for corporations like the Ford Motor Company to manufacture ventilators to supply hospitals, those emergency rule changes also made it possible for people such as Lacey to legally manufacture hand sanitizer.

Finding alcohol and containers for the hand sanitizer have required Lacey to take trips outside of Florida, because supply is in such high demand.

“That’s what we do on the weekends,” she explained.

Lacey says that she also has a friend whose children are sewing pleated fabric face masks and donating them to area hospitals. Some of these artistic masks are available at the shop downtown for a $5 donation to help offset supply costs.

Home Remedy Winter Haven staff celebrate their fifth anniversary in June.

The shop moved downtown to 21 Third Street NW in September 2019. For more information, call 863-662-3114.

Contact Charles A. Baker III at cbaker@d-r.media.