Chamber finding ways to support businesses and non-profits

Pearl Lorentzen
Lakeside Leader

Slave Lake and District Chamber of Commerce has cancelled all membership meetings, non-profit networking meetings, and all meetings except board meetings for the next while. Executive-Director Kimberly Hughes and the board are working on ways to support the business community.

Gift cards etc.
On Friday, April 3, the chamber launched a buy local gift card campaign through FanSaves. The FanSaves app is a new addition to the arsenal of chamber businesses. It was introduced in January.

Normally, the app is used in the physical business to redeem a discount.
Now however, the app has been adapted to allow people to sell gift cards to their business online. These can then been redeemed once everything returns to normal.

That being said, not all businesses in Slave Lake are closed at the moment.
For example, the restaurants are busy, The Leader is still publishing, the tax and other accounting firms are busy, and clothing stores are finding ways to work online and use delivery (see elsewhere in The Leader for information how some of the local businesses are coping with COVID).

The Town of Slave Lake has a business directory which has the status of various businesses in town.

In the future, the chamber would “like to do some videos,” says Hughes. These would be to help local businesses understand the current situation. As this changes day to day, the chamber is waiting until it has a better handle on the situation before making announcements.

A global initiative that the chamber is promoting is the Salute. It is where people step out of their door and make lots of noise to thank front-line workers, while maintaining social distance.

It’s a symbol, says Hughes, that although people are physically apart, they are still in community together. It’s an opportunity to “come together in solidarity.”

Front-line workers include doctors, nurses, police officers, fire fighters, grocery store workers, and truck drivers.

Last week, the private Facebook page for non-profits in the area was launched. This came out of the networking meetings that the chamber was holding for non-profit groups in the area. These meetings are cancelled for now.

The Alberta government has announced funding through Family and Community Support Services for non-profits which support people during COVID-19. To apply, local organizations contact Town of Slave Lake or the M.D. of Lesser Slave River Family and Community Support Services.

The information packet is called ‘Social Services Support for COVID-19 Funding Criteria’.

Across the province, $14 million will be meted out to non-profits and others through Family and Community Support Services Association of Alberta (FCSSAA) to municipalities and Metis Settlements outside of Edmonton and Calgary in the form of a one-time grant.

“For services to be eligible,”says the information, “they must address the social well-being of those most affected by COVID-19 and the measures implemented to limit the spread of the virus. Those impacted may include seniors, individuals with chronic medical conditions, caregivers, families with children at home and individuals with limited access to supports.

Services should align with one or more of the following funding priorities: help people maintain independence, build resiliency and strengthen their ability to cope during the COVID-19 pandemic; provide supports to help sustain people remain members in the community during the COVID-19 pandemic; fund civil society organizations to deliver projects for vulnerable Albertans who are in need during the COVID-19 pandemic; and coordinate services and programs to address the social well-being of vulnerable Albertans during the COVID-19 pandemic”

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