‘50 People Who Care ... And More’ make a difference for local businesses

Published: Sep. 29, 2020 at 10:08 PM CDT
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - A group in Cumberland is stepping up to help small businesses in the area.

After seeing the real impact it can make especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, group members want to share their simple idea with others in hopes that their mission will spread to other locations.

It started as 50 people who care.

Dennis Zahrbock, founder of the group told WEAU,

“We went with 50 because we didn’t know if we could get to one hundred … we are now at 60 and we certainly hope to get to 100.”

Now, the group is ’50 People Who Care … and More.'

Zahrbock says the idea came about earlier this year,

“We have this weekly bible study, and the place we met was losing their lease so we started with how can we help them and then it turned into well there more than just this place that could be helped.”

Each quarter, all members of the group put $100 into a pot. Then, members get to vote on a business who they know would be greatly impacted by their gift.

’50 People Who Care …and More' has committed to helping local small businesses - no strings attached.

“COVID came on after we started and for many of them this is their salvation,” says Zahrbock.

Island City Food Co-op was the first to receive the award, and at the beginning of 2020 they weren’t sure of their future, but the $55,000 grant surely gives them a fighting chance.

"I didn’t fully understand, I thought nothing could be free, "said manager of the co-op, Judy Owen.

She says it was a tough year, even before the pandemic. So she decided to apply after hearing about the group’s mission.

“At first I sat down and then I thought, it can’t be, it can’t be … what a wonderful gift.”

While a $100 donation each quarter isn’t much to some, when multiple people are making that gift to one struggling business, Zahrbock and Owen say it can make quite an impact.

“I almost feel guilty at times too because there are so many other businesses in Cumberland that are struggling too,” says Owen.

Because of that, this group will continue to help out within Cumberland.

The goal now is for others to hear of this mission and use it wherever else 50 other people - or more - wish to spread a dose of generosity.

Copyright 2020 WEAU. All rights reserved.

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