In these tough times, most of what we are seeing in our newspapers and news feeds is negative and dark.  I won’t repeat the staggering numbers and scary predictions here because we’ve all seen them.  Instead, I wanted to take this opportunity to share some uplifting news and to report on the remarkable steps some members of the business community are taking to help folks weather this storm.  Check out these companies doing good things in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis:

Companies Doing Good: Retail Stores Raising Wages

  • Recognizing the important role that retail workers are playing in keeping Americans fed during this crisis, Target is raising wages by $2.00 per hour, offering bonuses to its team leads, and providing paid leave to employees who are over 65, pregnant, or otherwise at increased risk should they contract COVID 19.
  • Similarly, Kroger is offering appreciation bonuses to all full and part-time sales associates while Aldi and Trader Joe‘s stores are creating special bonus pools to be divided equally among store employees.

Companies Doing Good: Local Businesses Stepping Up

  • Local restaurateur Rick Bayless, whose delicious caldos and salads our office misses more than you can imagine, has teamed up with US Foods to help out of work restaurant workers.  Bayless is paying his laid off restaurant staff to prepare and send out 800 boxes of pantry staples per week to local restaurant employees who have lost work during this crisis.  The food itself is being provided thanks to an anonymous donation of $250,000 from a Chicago foundation.
  • Koval, a distillery in Chicago’s north side neighborhood of Ravenswood, has shut down production of its excellent spirits in order to use its facilities to produce gallons of hand sanitizer to be distributed to first responders, food pantries, and nursing homes.  A number of local distilleries have followed suit and community members are contributing what they can to offset the costs.
  • University of Chicago is committing $1 million in food to provide up to 3,000 meals per day between now and mid-June to the nine south side communities around its campus.

We hope these examples serve as a reminder to our readers that we are all in this together and we have to look out for one another.  If you know of other companies doing good things to make the community a little brighter in the midst of this crisis, let us know.  We’ll be happy to share the news to lift up the bright things happening around us as we push through this difficult time.

And if you want to support local small businesses that are struggling as we all shelter in place, check out this site which allows you to search by zip code to find local businesses that are delivering essentials to your doorstep.  Many of these businesses are getting creative to figure out how to stay open.  The more business we can send their way, the more likely that they’ll be able to keep their staff employed and paid until we find our way back to some new version of normal.

In the meantime, we hope you’re all staying safe and healthy and doing what you can to take care of each other!