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Boca Raton students to donate $1,000 to Red Cross, 211 Helpline from hand sanitizer sales

Posted at 11:24 AM, Oct 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-24 11:24:47-04

BOCA RATON, Fla. — Two Boca Raton high school seniors are donating more than $1,000 from their new business venture to support a much-needed resource for the Palm Beaches and Treasure Coast.

Nicholas Horowitz and Matthew Russo plan to make the donation to the Red Cross and 211 helpline this weekend after a successful seven months of sales.

“We didn’t expect it to be this big,” said Nicholas Horowitz. “It’s expanded nationwide.”

The two students from Saint Andrew’s School put their curiosity to the test when stay-at-home orders shut down school in March.

“When we started, we met with our chemistry teacher Ms. Martin,” said Horowitz. “She gave us some information about how to start out and it just boosted from there.”

With a strong interest in chemistry, they learned how to create their own hand sanitizer and started bottling the solution to sell and donate to neighbors and restaurants in Boca Raton.

The solution, Purificate, was in such high demand during the spring, that sales were generated across the country.

“It’s a purifying substance,” said Matthew Russo. “So we said, ‘why don’t we call it purify in another pretty language?’ So, purificate is Italian for you all purify.

However, the Horowitz and Russo knew as they started their venture that their success would benefit the greater good.

Since they launched Purificate in March, more than 3,000 bottles have been donated to nursing homes, restaurants in Boca Raton and beyond.

Another batch was given to Saint Andrew’s School when classes reopened.

Now, the two students are preparing to donate more than $1000 to the Red Cross and 211 helpline.

The community crisis hotline provides immediate service for those in need within Palm Beach, Martin, St Lucie, Okeechobee and Indian River Counties.

“They’re very noteworthy organizations that have done a lot of good, especially in this public health crisis,” said Russo. “We thought both organizations have been very, very helpful.”

From chemistry to computer technology, Horowitz and Russo have been dedicated to using their knowledge and skills for the greater good.

Three years ago, Horowitz founded The Click Club in Boca Raton.

The non-profit organization includes other high school students who have a passion for computers.

They’ve refurbished more than 150 computers and made donations to nursing homes and students in need of digital devices.

In addition to offering lessons on computer skills, The Click Club is also committed to bridging the digital divide by ensuring children have a computer if they’re learning remotely.

Horowitz and Russo never imagined their effort to connect people to FaceTime over the years would eventually become such a vital source of communication.

“I enjoy making other people happy,” said Horowitz. “Being able to help other people is a really nice thing to do.”

All proceeds from Purificate hand sanitizer sales will continue to be donated to the Red Cross and 211 helpline.

211 reports an average of 200 calls per day before the pandemic.

However, the calls quickly doubled as the outbreak spread across South Florida.

Callers continue to reach out for assistance and crisis intervention ranging from depression to a loss of income.

Resource specialists for the 211 Help Line are available 24 hours a day.

Horowitz and Russo will continue to make Purificate hand sanitizer and donate the proceeds to the charities that are offering community support during the pandemic.

“I’ve learned not only about being a good businessman, but also how to be a good citizen for the future,” said Russo. “Some things are more important than money.”

To learn more about Purificate hand sanitizer or for purchasing inquiries, send an email to