Chamber, Community Foundation fund benefits 95 local businesses
Following the latest round of awards, the Small Business Relief Fund has now disbursed $200,000. The partnership between the Chamber and the Community Foundation of West Alabama has assisted 95 local small businesses financially impacted by COVID-19.
“We are thankful for the Chamber and the Community Foundation for the opportunity to apply, and we were excited to receive funds under this program,” said Riley Voce, co-owner of Northport-based food truck Blenz Bowls. “It came at a perfect time for us and literally put us back on the road.”
Voce said they heard about the program from others in the food truck community, as they are cooperating to find appropriate locations to serve customers during COVID-19 restrictions and the closure of the University of Alabama. Each day, the food trucks inform their customers of their location via social media.
“The support means a lot to us, and it’s great to know the community backs you,” Voce said.
Lynda Kees, a massage therapist based in Tuscaloosa who also received funds through the SBRF, echoed the sentiment. “I am deeply grateful to these organizations for creating and administering this relief fund for local small businesses like myself,” she said. “I would also like to express gratitude to everyone whose generous contributions have made this assistance possible.”
Bobby Bragg, Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Chamber, said he was pleased at the level of help the SBRF was able to provide for West Alabama’s small businesses.
“There have been a variety of resources directed at small business, but we wanted to ensure our local businesses had funds available quickly,” Bragg said. “Using this funding to take care of immediate needs such as rent and utilities have made a big difference for some of our small businesses.”
Jim Page, President and CEO of the Chamber, said he was thrilled with the SBRF’s progress, but noted there is more work to be done.
“Thanks to the great folks who live and work in West Alabama, some businesses that would have faced extreme hardship have been able to take advantage of the Small Business Relief Fund,” Page said. “With more applicants in the pipeline, we hope to be able to assist even more of our small businesses.”
Kathy Townsend, owner of A Cutting Edge Caterers, a catering company based in Moundville, said she was so appreciative of the funding, but unsurprised the organizations stepped up quickly to assist not only their members, but the entire community.
“Jim and his staff work tirelessly and are so fair minded,” she said. “The work they do benefits not just their members, but the entire community.”
To donate to the Small Business Relief Fund or apply, visit https://tuscaloosachamber.com/small-