Returning the favor in Tonganoxie: Fund established to help small businesses
As the COVID-19 pandemic moves along, small businesses across the country continue to do what they can to weather the economic downturn.
A new drive established locally, it’s hoped, will give some Tonganoxie businesses some relief from that storm.
Tonganoxie resident Connie Putthoff said Monday that she’s been working with others to spread the word about an account established at First State Bank and Trust that will benefit local businesses affected by the pandemic.
“You know, we can’t operate without our businesses,” Putthoff said, echoing sentiment that has been expressed on social media about small businesses during the pandemic. “When they (organizations, schools, etc.) are having a fundraiser, they go to the businessman and ask for the donations.
“Now it’s our turn to help the businessman. That’s how I look at it anyway.”
Putthoff said the business drive goal is $20,000. The drive is set to end May 1, though donations might be dispersed before then.
At that point, organizers plan to have the funds distributed equally among the businesses in various types of business: restaurant, event venue, bar, hair salon and spa, massage therapy and fitness club.
“As everyone knows, they don’t need it next month; they need it now,” Putthoff said.
An account has been established at First State Bank and Trust for Tonganoxie COVID-19 Business Support, as well as a Go Fund Me page. As the description on the crowdsourcing page reads, the fund has been established for businesses that “have been asked to temporarily close their business or change their normal operations in such a way that has impacted revenues.”
The drive has raised about $10,000 in its first week.
Putthoff, who also has been involved in the community for years as a longtime volunteer at Good Shepherd Thrift Store and Food Bank and as a member of the Tonganoxie Community Historical Society, said she’s been spreading the news about the drive often on Facebook.
Putthoff said donations would be welcome through the bank or the Go Fund Me page, though she said the First State Bank and Trust account was the best option. She also noted that contributions were tax-deductible.
Putthoff stressed the importance of supporting local businesses and helping the community flourish. She recalled her own hometown of Montrose, Iowa, which had about 900 people during the last Census.
“At one time, that little town had two grocery stores, a service station, two or three restaurants,” she said. “They don’t have anything now but a Casey’s.
“If you lose your businesses, the town just shuts down. We’ve got to do something to get things going again.”