Fulcrum Community Resources

After a year of accepting and distributing donations to small businesses and individuals in Manzanita, Nehalem and Wheeler, Fulcrum Community Resources is wrapping up its business relief campaign. Launched in April 2020, at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the campaign was a joint effort between Fulcrum and the Manzanita Visitors Center. It was designed to offer financial aid to area small businesses at a time of extreme uncertainty.

The small business relief committee consisted of Fulcrum president Barb McLaughlin, Fulcrum board members Tom Campbell and Lucy Brook, Breanna Stephens of Manzanita Lumber Co., and Dan Haag of the Manzanita Visitors Center. The committee met regularly to review a steady stream of applications and distribute the received donations.

While a similar effort met with success in the wake of the 2016 Manzanita tornado, there was some concern that this campaign would not be able to attract the needed donations. The tornado was an isolated local incident, while the pandemic’s effects were being felt on a global scale.

Happily, that concern was unwarranted: over the course of the last year, the campaign received over $106,000 in generous donations and grants and distributed those funds to 67 local businesses and independent contractors. The outpouring of kindness was heartening and it came from full and part-time residents alike. It was a testament to the depth of love people have for our small businesses and just how important they are within the fabric of our communities.

It was not lost on the many recipients just how vital these funds were to them, especially as they waited for the federal government to design and launch various aid packages.

The committee received many heartfelt thank you’s like this one: “The money did so much more than buy supplies. It gave me hope that I could feed my family and have a roof over my head. From the bottom of my heart, thank you for having a program for us little guys who are living simply here in our beautiful community and trying to stay afloat.”

The campaign’s efforts caught the notice of Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley, who thanked the committee at a Tillamook County town hall and awarded them with a flag that once flew over the state capital in Salem. Also, Visit Tillamook Coast singled out the campaign in their annual Tourism Heroes press release.

Even though this campaign has wrapped up, the effort to support small businesses continues. Everyone is encouraged to make the daily effort to shop small. Spending dollars locally is the best way to ensure small businesses come out of this pandemic and flourish.

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