Memphis non-profits, small businesses pitching in to meet coronavirus needs

Updated: Mar. 18, 2020 at 9:41 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Since so many closures have brought things to a halt, it’s led some non-profits and small businesses to step in and meet several needs in the Mid-South.

Shelves at stores are bare. Items like hand sanitizer are hard to come by.

It's why Raw Girls, a local business in Memphis that sells plant-based foods and juices, is now making its own hand sanitizer.

“So it's got the 95% Everclear alcohol in it. It's got the aloe that they're hand cutting and it's also got tea tree in it, which is an antibacterial,” said Debbie Schneider, Raw Girls employee.

The owners came up with the idea to sell them after they had already made some for family. It's $3 for a small bottle and $6 for a large.

“The intent was to not make a profit. They are taking a little bit of a profit, not much. Because when you buy all the labels and bottles, they're not making much out of it. But they are trying to do as much as they can to serve the community,” said Schneider.

Philanthropic organizations in the Mid-South are also looking to meet the public's needs amid the spread of COVID-19.

The Community Foundation of Greater Memphis launched a fund Wednesday to address food, income, and housing insecurity.

“We know that people's lives are going to be affected. We knew that we had to step up and do something in response,” said Robert Fockler, Community Foundation of Greater Memphis President.

They’ve already received a $250,000 donation from Nike. The funds they raise will be distributed to non-profits in the Mid-South such as MIFA and the Mid-South Food Bank.

“Our first conversation was with the City of Memphis. And they contacted us and said, we obviously need a community-wide response. It's going to be a more efficient and effective response. If it is both unified, and nimble,” said Fockler.

Getting tested for COVID-19 is one of the biggest concerns the public currently has.

Christ Community Health Services plans to offer drive-through testing at its Third Street location Saturday.

“It makes a lot of sense as far as you're not getting people into a crowded waiting room. You're not getting long lines if people coughing next to each other,” said Dr. Ben Andrews, chief clinical officer.

They are offering to test 50 people for free, but it is by appointment and only for those showing symptoms.

Those wanting to be tested have to text “test2020” to the number “91999.”

“We have done it in communication with Shelby County Health Department and with the state. And they were very supportive of it. The state, in fact, gave us some recommendations on ways to do it effectively and efficiently,” said Andrews.

If you’re looking for ways to help the community, we have a list of agencies where you can send donations—- click here.

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