HUTCHINSON, Kan. — After nearly two months and nearly $150,000 in sales and matching donations, the Rally Reno County gift card program is ending.
The last day to order gift cards from rallyreno.org is Friday.
As stay-at-home orders begin to relax, businesses re-open and employees return to work, focus now shifts to other economic and community sustainability strategies.
“Rally Reno was the perfect opportunity to highlight the needs of small business owners and workers affected by the coronavirus while also providing a platform for people in our community to help at a critical time. Now, as businesses open again, it is time to turn our attention to the long-term investments needed to make our community stronger after the crisis,” said Aubrey Abbott Patterson, president and CEO of Rally Reno County partner Hutchinson Community Foundation.
The program launched March 26 as a collaboration between the Hutchinson/Reno County Chamber of Commerce, United Way of Reno County and the community foundation.
Customers of rallyreno.org could purchase gift cards from participating area businesses and that amount was matched by community foundation donors and given to the Reno County VOAD’s fund to help individuals and families affected financially by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The website served as a lifeline to businesses impacted by the stay-at-home order.
“It was so rewarding to get calls and emails from our Hutch Chamber members who were thrilled to see the community and non-profit organizations come together to do something not only for the businesses but for people who are finding themselves in need amidst the impacts of COVID-19,” said Debra Teufel, chamber president and CEO.
“The dollars of purchases on Rally Reno County helped small businesses when they needed it the most. The checks cut each week from purchases helped our small business members cover critical expenses to keep their businesses viable – sometimes covering utilities, rent, insurance and payroll to help them make it through business disruptions.”
Ninety-four businesses participated, and, so far, the website has received 189 applications for financial assistance. From the aid fund, $34,000 have been given to Reno County families in need.
“These are hard-working individuals who have suddenly been forced to worry about how they will take care of their families and will need resources to help them get stable in such an unstable time,” said Lisa Gleason, United Way of Reno County executive director.
RallyReno.org will remain active to accept assistance applications and for nonprofit organizations to apply for Rally Reno Nonprofit Response Grants, though that fund is currently depleted. Thirty-one nonprofits have received $110,000 in grants from the Rally Reno Nonprofit Response Fund launched in April to help agencies continue offering services and meeting missions during the pandemic.
Reno County VOAD will continue delivering assistance from its unmet needs fund, so donations are still needed and can be made to United Way of Reno County, P.O. Box 2230, Hutchinson, KS 67504. Those who wish to help make more nonprofit response grants available may contact Patterson at [email protected] or 620-200-0175 or Gleason at [email protected] or 620-669-9329.
The matching pool for Reno County VOAD’s unmet needs fund was made possible through gifts from the following Hutchinson Community Foundation donors (all from donor advised funds) – Angel and Steve Dillon, Carolyn and Dick Dillon, Heather Dillon and Brad Poos, and Katy Dillon and Ryan Cook – and from a gift to the Hutchinson/Reno County Chamber of Commerce from Kansas Gas Service.
Nonprofit response grants were made possible through gifts from community foundation donor advisors Dee and Dave Dillon and Tracy and Jeff Dillon and anonymous United Way donors.
“It was wonderful to see the nonprofit agencies come together to solve a need in the community in quick fashion. These strong relationships across our organizations will collectively help our community and citizens sustain during this unprecedented time and create more collaboration models for the future,” Teufel said.