Article appeared in the April Redstone Review
by Kristen Bruckner
COVID-19-Response-LCF launches the “Lyons Share: A small business economic relief fund”
With all that is happening in our community and our world, Lyons residents want to know how to help. While many in the Lyons area experienced the reality of taking care of our own through the floods of 2013, the nature of this crisis is different and may be leaving residents at a loss for how to contribute. Fortunately, area non-profits and service organizations excel during these times and have sprung into action.
The first and most important action we can take is to STAY HOME. By following the recommendations on social distancing, stay at home orders and mask wearing, we can affect the trajectory of this horrible virus. There are other community-minded actions we can participate in such as sewing masks for others, the “8pm howling”, supporting the Lyons restaurants and businesses that are open, and reaching out to those who are living alone and feeling especially isolated.
Beyond this basic adherence to social practices, there are many groups spearheading important work to aid those most vulnerable. The Lyons Community Foundation has launched “The Lyons Share-a small business economic relief fund” in partnership with the St. Vrain Market (SVM). The fund, seeded with proceeds from the market and matched by LCF, is designed to help local businesses survive the impact of COVID-19’s forced business closures. Neil and Connie Sullivan, owners of the market, recognized their unique position as an essential business operating daily and reached out to LCF to establish this fund in the hopes of providing economic relief to others. By diverting some of their increased revenues into this fund, they hope to aid local businesses with immediate needs such as rent and utilities. By shopping locally for items such as fresh produce, in-house baked goods and other grocery essentials in an environment of strict social distancing and safe shopping practices, customers automatically contribute to this fund.
Economic aid grants of up to $1000 each will be made eligible to businesses with a registered Lyons business license and may be used to pay rent, employees or other operating expenses. Applications are available now at www.lyonscf.org. The deadline for the first round of submissions is April 20, with the first round of grants awarded around May 1. Individuals may also contribute to this fund by making a direct donation to the LCF Lyons Share fund. There are other federal and state economic aid and granting programs kicking off and the Lyons Chamber of Commerce is doing a great job of informing local businesses on how best to navigate these options.
The Community Foundation of Boulder County, LCF’s parent organization, has also responded to the crisis in a big way. They have launched a COVID-19 Response Fund, already raising almost $400K. Within days of announcing their first round of funding, LCF was able to secure $5000 to help Lyons Emergency Assistance Fund (LEAF) and those most vulnerable in our community, boosting services for the Food Pantry, Meals on Wheels and other basic needs.
Beyond Lyons, other area nonprofits are addressing tremendous needs. The Boulder homeless shelter is offering a program where individuals can donate to provide meals to the homeless. A restaurant group in Boulder has collaborated to provide meals to hospital workers. The St. Vrain Valley and Boulder Valley School districts have stepped up to continue meal service to kids not in school. With all of the options to help, it can be overwhelming.
The following is an abbreviated list of some organizations doing critical work to aid in this crisis.
Please visit these websites for more information and be sure to verify for legitimacy with any online donation or funding sites.
Lyons Community Foundation: “Lyons Share: small business economic relief fund: www.lyonscf.org
Lyons Chamber of Commerce- navigating economic relief: www.lyonschamber.org
Community Foundation of Boulder County: directing a wide variety of responses www.commfound.org
Boulder Homeless shelter: providing assistance for area homeless: www.Bouldershelter.org
Lyons Emergency Assistance Fund- food pantry, meals on wheels and other services: www.Leaflyons.org
Bch.org –Boulder Community Hospital Foundation: assistance for front line workers: www.bch.org
Town of Lyons- COVID website http://www.townoflyons.com/652/COVID-19
Lyons Community Foundation