It’s easy to feel helpless or angry watching the riots in the wake of the death of George Floyd. Our heart goes out to everyone affected by the rioting, from the small business owners to those hurt or killed in the violence. While there’s no quick antidote to what’s going on, positive actions can help our communities heal. To spread hope, we’re shining a light on a few of those organizations assisting small business owners hardest hit by the looting, either financially or through hands-on cleanup assistance.
Some businesses are taking action
Many small businesses are reeling from looting and vandalism. After witnessing the riots, Angela Liu, CEO of Smart Lifebites’ parent Crispy Green decided she wanted to do something good. Crispy Green is offering up to 3 months inventory to affected retailers. “As a small business owner, I know the blood, sweat and tears that go into building a business,” Liu says. “For many small business owners, their stores/shops/restaurants are their livelihood and the most valuable assets they own. To watch their lives’ work, dreams and their livelihood destroyed by angry mobs has got to be the one of the most heart-wrenching things that anyone could experience.” So, in addition to the free-fill inventory offer, she says Crispy Green is donating to the Lift Fund to help lift other small businesses impacted by the recent tragic events. “I encourage others to do the same. No amount is too small.”
Cleaning up Chicago
Many non-profit organizations are boots on the ground. They are organizing teams of volunteers to sweep up shattered glass, board up windows, pick up trash and repair damage. In Chicago Earth’s Remedies is one such organization. Its goal is to raise $20,000 within the next two weeks to assist non-profits working in the hard-hit West Side of Chicago. They’re working with mom-and-pop stores and small businesses to clean up the mess and rebuild their stores.
“Minorities on the West Side of Chicago have entrepreneurial hearts and often find it hard to secure the financial support they need to jump start their businesses due to discrimination and redlining from banks,” says Charles Pickett, who oversees Earth’s Remedies. “Now more than ever we need to support these businesses so that they can have a level playing field to succeed.
Minneapolis and Denver take action
The City of Minneapolis is still suffering from riot damage. The local newspaper lists more than 360 local businesses across St. Paul and Minneapolis that experienced damage or loss. Damage includes vandalism, looting, or smashed windows and doors. Some businesses have been destroyed, with at least 66 gutted by fire or endured extensive water or fire damage.
The local CBS station lists businesses affected. Next to each business is a detailed list of its damage and a link to a Go Fund Me Page fund-raising page if the business has one set up.
Meanwhile in Denver, the Downtown Denver Partnership is organizing cleanups. The nonprofit private business organization provides resources for local businesses. So far, it counts 230 businesses with damage, including broken windows and graffiti. Volunteers are working to clean up the downtown area affected by the riots. Downtown Denver Partnership has a crew sanitizing and making the areas safe for volunteers.
Beautify your local community
While these riots bring images of personal property destruction to our attention, graffiti and piles of garbage aren’t new to American cities or landscape. There is a constant need to remove garbage and litter. Keep America Beautiful is a national nonprofit with a mission to build and maintain clean, green, and beautiful spaces. It dedicates its resources to improve and beautify communities across America. Its mission: end littering, improve recycling and beautify communities. Every year it works with 20,000 communities nationwide to help grow green spaces. It has 686 affiliate organizations throughout the United States that are planning activities on a weekly basis. In 2019, volunteers logged 12 million hours. Want to find a way to help out in your community? Simply plug in your zip code to find the closest KAB affiliate near you. If you don’t see one near you, you can even start one and receive backing from KAB, or financially support a local organization.
These are just a few of hundreds of examples of local organizations banding together to help local businesses or just overall helping to beautify their communities. If you know of a local business, church or organization feel free to contact them directly to see how you can help. Spread the hope.