Sheridan Area Employee Relief Fund Helps Locals Affected By COVID-19

Apr 29, 2020

Credit Sheridan County Chamber of Commerce

The Sheridan County Chamber of Commerce has started a relief fund for employed or recently employed locals who need some additional help.

As of Tuesday afternoon, about $270,000 have been received or pledged to the Sheridan Area Employee Relief Fund. The Sheridan County Chamber of Commerce started the relief fund to help people who live and work in the county and need extra support. The fund opened for applications on April 6.

Chamber CEO Dixie Johnson said last week they wrote 270 checks, of $250 each.

"We wanted to reach our frontline workers. So with so many of the orders that mandated closures of restaurants, hotels, the reduced hours that many of our retailers are experiencing. It's a lot of our small businesses," Johnson said.

Johnson said they'll be writing more checks this week.

The chamber does have rules for who is eligible to apply. An applicant must be a resident of Sheridan County; must be or have been employed by business in the county; and must have experienced some sort of hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Special consideration will also be given to applicants who have children living at home who are under the age of 18. Johnson said this was at the request of some major donors who wanted to ensure they were able to help local families.

"This is not necessarily something we're going to recover from quickly. And so hopefully having a fund that can sustain at least through the next few months will be really beneficial to our community," she said.

Those eligible for the funds are able to apply once every 30 days. The chamber asks that only one member per household apply. Residents can apply for the funding through the chamber's website.

Johnson said originally, the chamber expected only a handful of local, private foundations to donate. She said they expected to raise $50,000 to $100,000. However, individuals have started contributing.

"We've found ourselves kind of blown away by all the individuals and businesses that have stepped up to donate to the fund," she said.

Have a question about this story? Contact the reporter, Catherine Wheeler at cwheel11@uwyo.edu.