It’s been reassuring to read about the strong response our government has given to the coronavirus threat, especially on the state and local level. Winston-Salem’s pledge to contribute $1 million — and the city is seeking matching funds, as the Journal reported Thursday — to local nonprofit organizations will help some of the people who need it the most. Local nonprofit agencies like the United Way of Forsyth County and the Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest North Carolina are also pitching in, making the most of what we hope will be an increase in donations.
But we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the contributions and support being offered by our area’s private sector. Even while commercial enterprises are struggling to keep their heads above water, many are also contributing to the community’s efforts to fight the scourge. (That’s not easy when customers are urged to stay away.) They realize that they can make a difference.
One prime example is the local distillers of Broad Branch Distillery on North Trade Street. They’re making and giving away hand sanitizer — up to two bottles per person — while asking for donations to the Lynne H. Berry School Buddies Fund, the Journal reported Thursday.
Why are they doing this? “Just because we’ve got this sitting here and it needs to happen,” distiller Joe Tappe explained to the Journal’s Ethan Joyce on Thursday. “There’s a need. There’s a role that we can play.”
Old Nick Williams Farm and Distillery in Lewisville is also making hand sanitizer from a distilling byproduct and donating it to hospitality businesses.
The Coffee Park Airstream trailer on Reynolda Road is extending a 20% discount to all doctors, nurses, lab techs and other medical personnel through the end of March.
Mission Pizza Napoletana downtown is selling specialty T-shirts to raise funds to provide relief to food service workers impacted by coronavirus.
We’ve heard of others, not as visible, who are pitching in: Some employers have sent their small staffs home with full pay. Some landlords have told their renters to forget paying rent in April.
We’re sure there are many other generous responses from local businesses that we’re not yet aware of, headed and staffed by people who care about our communities. We appreciate every effort — and every reminder that we’re all in this together. Many of the rest of us are in a position to reciprocate and should when we can.
After the 9/11 terrorist attack, President George W. Bush was criticized for urging Americans to respond by going shopping rather than by making some kind of personal sacrifice.
But these are different circumstances, and that’s exactly what we need to keep our economy alive. While restaurants may be closed to indoor dining, many of them still offer food for take-out and delivery. The same is true of other businesses, with products and services from books to glass engraving. Many of them offer gift cards that can be used later, but that provide important funds now.
Aperture Cinema is experimenting with on-demand at-home film delivery with a screening of “Saint Frances,” available online at: www.tinyurl.com/aperturesaint.
The Downtown Winston-Salem Partnership is maintaining a list of businesses that are still offering services and products online at: downtownws.com.
We don’t know what our community will look like when this is all over. But if we make an effort to support the businesses that are valuable to us now, we help ensure that they’ll be around for us to enjoy in the future.