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28 Apr 2020
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The town of Seaside, Florida, has stepped up with voluntary donations to assist those employees of local businesses who were furloughed from work by the COVID-19 shutdown orders. The fundraising has been organized by the Chapel at Seaside, and is still going on, and friends and well-wishers of Seaside can donate online or by mail to the tax-exempt Chapel Community Support Fund.

The Chapel set a goal of $300,000 for its first fundraising effort, offering $100,000 of its own funds to match donations towards that goal. The Robert Davis Foundation in Seaside also offered $100,000 in matching funds. Thanks to these two donors, the first goal was reached, and funds have already started to be disbursed to hard-pressed workers of the town.

Now a second effort is underway, to raise another $300,000. The Chapel is again offering matching funds of $100,000, and an anonymous donor is also offering $50,000. These matching funds can be gained if we can come up with the other $150,000 - these matching offers make your donation worth three times the amount you give - so let's go!

Since mid-March, these gracious and generous gifts have enabled the Chapel as organizer to disburse $400,000 in financial support to workers and $70,000 to local nonprofits. The crisis is not over yet, and through the generosity of those with means, we can create many more true stories such as this from one of the many Thank You cards received:

Thank you from the bottom of my heart!  I opened the envelope and almost fell to my knees in tears.  The check is such a blessing to me and my daughter.  I was down to the last $12 in my bank account and praying for some type of miracle.  Then that miracle came today!”

Miracles indeed, from the generosity of people who care about people.

The monetary impact of the sudden cancellation of all travel arrangements is still unfolding throughout our national economy of course, as well as in every locale in the country. The closing of the beach and the town here in Seaside by order of the state was something that no one could anticipate or plan for. Hundreds of workers have been affected by this crisis, and dozens of businesses.

At Homeowner's Collection, the loss in bookings to our cottage owners was over $1 million from cancellations and refunds. Despite this sudden loss, we decided to keep all our employees on the payroll, at full salary, as well as allowing our guests to cancel or reschedule with no penalties. This was all in the best interest of our community and our guests.

We have been able to receive the federal SBA loans to protect our payroll expenditure, and we are grateful for this assistance. The relief always comes after you spend to help others of course, and bridging the gap can be nerve-racking, especially as the crisis and closures are still ongoing. We are sad to see that other businesses rental companies have had to furlough or lay off their employees.

It's not an easy time for the workers here, who are actually the people who make Seaside such a magical experience for all of us. Stimulus checks are equal to about a week's pay, and the compensation procedures are overwhelmed and backlogged.

And so the fundraising continues. Please help if you can, so that Seaside can survive this difficult time and move towards the next stage of living with the virus, which will be the reopening! Stay tuned for more details, which we all hope will come soon.  To see the most current information on the beach reopening and the town of Seaside, visit our COVID-19 Updates page.

Please DONATE and stay tuned!