As one of the hardest hit communities in the nation by COVID-19 – and following the shelter-in-place order by Summit County – we’re all a little shaken by what our present and future holds for ourselves and our beloved ski town. Birthday parties, Spring Break plans and weddings have been cancelled. Prom and graduation are still up in the air, and the stress of homeschooling kids for the first time is taking a mental and physical toll on many. And while it’s easy to think of the personal toll the pandemic is having in your household, it’s more important than ever to support the residents and businesses in our community for which the effects of COVID-19 in Park City are proving to be catastrophic physically, emotionally and financially.
Help for our Workers
Immediately upon learning that local restaurants would have to close their doors to dine-in customers, and that ski resorts would be closing for the rest of the season, Park City Community Foundation and its philanthropic, government and business partners initiated a Community Response Fund. The fund was created to assist area residents most directly impacted by COVID-19 in Park City by awarding emergency grants to organizations providing critical services in the areas of healthcare, food and housing to those individuals. It does not offer grants or financial support directly to individuals, rather, it funds high-impact nonprofits that already have systems in place to support individuals efficiently. As of March 27, $330,000 has been raised, and they’ve awarded the following initial grants:
- $25,000 to the Christian Center of Park City for food programs and basic needs
- $20,000 to People’s Health Clinic to help manage patient flow and provide critical supplies
- $5,000 to EATS Park City to support the weekend backpack program in its growth during the crisis from 350 to 800 recipients
- $10,000 to Connect Summit County to cover an increase in staff coverage and other supports for individuals struggling with mental health
- $10,000 to Jewish Family Service to help provide financial assistance to families that have recently lost their income, based on a needs assessment and coordinated with CCPC
- $10,000 for Peace House for support services addressing an increased risk for domestic violence victims during these stressful times
I’ve included links to the donation pages for each nonprofit listed above in case you’d like to provide much-needed direct support to these organizations.
Dining at Home While Dining Out
Though many restaurants have closed their dining rooms as a necessary measure to help minimize further community spread of COVID-19 in Park City, approximately 50 have adjusted their operations to offer curbside and delivery services. Park City’s vibrant restaurant scene is part of what defines Park City as a world-class destination. By supporting these local eateries now, you can help them pay their staff now and stay afloat in the future. The Park City Area Restaurant Association has compiled this comprehensive list of restaurants participating in curbside pickup and delivery, which includes links to their individual sites, contact info and operating hours. You might also consider purchasing gift certificates online for future use at restaurants that are not set-up to facilitate curbside dining. To assist in doing so, a list of area restaurants can be found here, though not all offer gift cards online.
Supporting the Service Industry
Purchasing gift cards at service providers who have been shuttered during the shelter-in-place is a great way to directly support local businesses. Gyms, salons, groomers, galleries, hotels, museums, transportation companies and live entertainment venues are just a few of the types of businesses that could really use our community to rally around them and purchase goods or gift certificates online. You can access a list of local businesses at the Park City Chamber | Convention and Visitors Bureau website by clicking here. Doing so just might help your mental state by giving you something to look forward to doing in a few months (when we begin to return to life as we once knew it).
Propping up Nonprofits
The current situation has been particularly hard on nonprofits, as many operate on thin margins to begin with, and are now losing the critical admissions and donation revenue they counted upon for March and April. It was heartening to learn 42 cats and dogs at Nuzzles & Co. found emergency foster homes within one day of the animal rescue group taking to social media with a plea for placements, after Summit County issued its shelter-in-place order and they were required to cease operations at their outlet mall and Rescue Ranch locations. This has always been the way Park City has responded in times of dire need, and I’m confident it’s just one of many ways we are each doing our part.
While the human services nonprofits are receiving support to assist with essential needs, many nonprofits that enhance our local quality of life can also use your help. I challenge you to think of at least one nonprofit that has had a direct impact on you or your family. For me, the Park City Education Foundation comes to mind. In addition to providing funding for critical programs during the school year, they’ve increased their Express Grant Fund by $50,000 to support immediate teacher and student at-home schooling needs. I serve as co-chair of their Running with Ed fundraising event, and am heartbroken that it is, necessarily, canceled for this May, as that means PCEF stands to lose $280,000 in funding. I’m encouraging everyone who has already paid their registration fee for this year to consider, if able, to change their runner registration into a runner donation. I know this isn’t financially possible for everyone, but for those who can without a significant impact to themselves or their family, I am grateful. Stay tuned for how and when to give to bolster our 2020 funding needs. We’ll see everyone for the biggest and best Running with Ed on May 22, 2021!
If you’ve already made a purchase for performances or classes in April at arts organizations like the Egyptian Theatre Company or Kimball Art Center, consider letting them keep your payment as a donation.
Make sure you’re signed up to support your child’s school through Smith’s Inspiring Donations, Amazon Smile and Box Tops for Education, which now utilizes a mobile app for scanning your receipt instead of having to cut out the coupon and bring it to the school.
The Park City Community Foundation maintains a list of all area nonprofits. Check it out by clicking here, and see if there’s one that inspires you to show your support.
Going Beyond Neighborly
These days, it’s easy to live in a neighborhood while not exactly being “neighborly.” This is a great time to find ways to connect with the folks living on your street or in your building, so I’ve compiled the following ways you can safely support your neighbors during this time:
- Offer to shop or make a pharmacy run for someone who is within the high-risk categories (over 60, immunocompromised, asthmatic)
- Share your extra supplies; reach out on Facebook or Nextdoor to see who might be in need and initiate a porch drop-off
- Organize a virtual block party using Zoom, Google Hangouts or Houseparty
- Call or FaceTime someone who lives alone; you could be the one person who reaches out
- Make care packages for first responders; call in advance to find out what is most needed, whether its hygiene supplies or pizzas from a designated restaurant
We’ve often heard that “in helping others, you help yourself.” No truer words have been spoken when it comes to lifting up our own community in this, its greatest time of need.
Our history of supporting each other through good and bad times is one of many reasons so many people Choose Park City for their new home or vacation property. To learn more about the variety of schooling options across Summit County that make the area so special, connect with Christine Grenney at 435-640-4238, or visit her website by clicking here.