SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. (WJMN) – Amidst the current COVID-19 outbreak, the Chippewa County Community Foundation is teaming up with the Sault Ste. Marie Downtown Development Authority, the Chamber of Commerce and War Memorial Hospital to support local businesses and show appreciation for frontline healthcare workers.
The inspiration for the effort started with Debbie Jones, Executive Director of the Chippewa County Community Foundation, “There are heroes in disguise on the front line, and we need to support and be thankful for our heroes who can’t stay home.”
The number of patients with COVID-19 admitted to the hospital has increased in recent weeks. “Our facility hovers on the edge of its capacity to care for COVID-19 patients. Fortunately, we have an incredibly dedicated team here,” explained David Jahn, President and CEO of War Memorial Hospital.
“We are getting tired. It is difficult to watch patients struggle with this disease. But we know that our friends and neighbors need us, so we keep going. More than ever our team needs the support and encouragement of our community. We’re sharing this heavy burden together and we so appreciate everyone’s support. It means the world” shared Nicole Oliver, Senior Director of Nursing at WMH.
Jones was moved to coordinate an effort to help connect members of the community who want to help support essential healthcare personnel and give a boost to local businesses, many of whom have struggled through closures, reduced capacity and other challenges this year. The Community Foundation, Downtown Development Authority and the Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce are teaming up to encourage individuals to purchase a $15 gift card (recommended minimum) to support our retailers, restaurants and bars show of support for local essential workers.
The goal of the campaign is to acquire one thousand $15 gifts. There are three ways to participate in the effort. Jones is encouraging individuals to stop by their favorite local business and purchase a gift card, purchase Chamber Bucks from the Chamber of Commerce, or visit the DDA office to purchase Downtown Dollars. Donations can then be dropped off at any one of the three partner locations (CCCF at 511 Ashmun, Ste. #202, DDA at 511 Ashmun St. Ste. #103 or the Chamber at 2581 I-75 Business Spur). There will be dropboxes at each location to minimize contact. There will also be thank you notes donors can sign.
Owner of Leitz’s and The Foundary, Dana Sanderson is looking forward to participating. “This has been a difficult year for business owners. In Sault Ste. Marie, we rely on each other and support each other. Since this pandemic started, community members have really made an effort to support local, whether by shopping via online Facebook events or getting takeout and we are so grateful. Now our frontline is really being put to the test. Community Cares gives individuals a tangible way to show support for their friends and neighbors working in healthcare.”