“The charitable and indomitable spirit of our community is truly in full force.”
I hope this message finds you well. The last two months have brought many challenges to our members and their families. We have been caring for loved ones, praying for their health and speedy recovery, while at the same time doing our best to practice social distancing and pay our bills.
In addition, we have been working with our bankers and advisors to navigate the SBA loan process, hoping for the timely distribution of funds. As our businesses have either come to a halt or slowed to the point where the future is unclear, it must be our strategy to forge ahead and continue to run our businesses with all of the means at our disposal.
This is a time when community truly comes together. In Plainview-Old Bethpage, we have seen residents honor and support our first responders, including the health care workers at Plainview Hospital who are caring for those in need while putting their own lives on the line. We have seen our residents promote local businesses, including our restaurants, supermarkets and other retail businesses that are providing invaluable services and products to our community. The charitable and indomitable spirit of our community is truly in full force.
In the absence of holding in-person meetings and limiting our ability to continue to raise money and awareness for the Chamber’s 2019-20 charitable partner, The Garret Kassler Memorial Fund, chamber member Town Bagel donated gift cards to be raffled off through the Chamber website. This endeavor has raised over $200 so far for this important local charity. A remarkable feat at this time. The Chamber has also awarded two scholarships to POB JFK High School seniors, one of which is in memory of Marcia Finkelstein. Marcia was a long-time board member of the Chamber who epitomized civic responsibility and community involvement. During these times, Marcia would have been the first to lend a hand to others in need. We should use her spirit as guidance on how to help others now.
Since mid-March, the Chamber has implemented other initiatives to aid our small business owners. In utilizing virtual technology, we have conducted timely workshops for our members with regards to employment options, wellness, loan programs and marketing and sales — all designed to provide necessary guidance. The Chamber has also held virtual networking events where participants have discussed hardships and opportunities alike.
With the hopes of re-opening our community and kick starting the local economy in a safe way, the Chamber will play a role in disseminating information from the State and County that will provide guidance with regards to re-opening protocols, continued social distancing measures and best practices for our small business as we move forward.
Although the re-opening of our businesses is on everyone’s minds, we must be sure to do so in adherence to the proper guidelines designed to protect ourselves and our families. We will continue to hold workshops and networking events to help educate our members on how to re-open and continue to develop business opportunities and relationships.
Please be safe, be smart and have hope that we will get through this together. And of course, continue to shop local!
Andrew Lamkin, ESQ
POB Chamber President