COVID-19 Daily News

Amherst Area Tip Jar Launched

AMHERST — The Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce and the Amherst Business Improvement District (BID) have launched the Amherst Area Tip Jar.

Many locals would regularly be patronizing their favorite restaurants, bars, salons, coffeehouses, and other businesses that have been ordered closed or have shifted to take-out only, depending on the type of business, due to the COVID-19 crisis and related health and safety restrictions.

The Tip Jar, first established in Pittsburgh, allows people to support local service industry staff and businesses. It allows them to send a ‘tip’ to their favorite business, which will share it with their staff — bartenders, servers, kitchen staff, stylists, aestheticians, mechanics, etc. The Amherst Area Tip Jar offers an option for these businesses and individuals to post their Venmo or PayPal information so that customers, family members, neighbors, and community members, near and far, can continue to support them using this open-source concept — a way to maximize social distancing while supporting these workers and small businesses.

“Like all of us, our concerned members have been forwarding ideas to help our small businesses, and this is the one that stuck,” says Claudia Pazmany, executive director of the Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce. “We saw organizations galvanizing to support our nonprofit members and some small-business solutions — not nearly enough — but we recognized a void here and felt this was a population that was vulnerable that needed to be provided for.”

Gabrielle Gould, executive director of the Amherst BID, added that “this virtual tip jar is for local people who work at our businesses. This is a way we might be able to help our businesses help their laid-off staff. It’s not the solution, but it is an idea that has been used in other communities to help connect people to the businesses they care about and support.”

Chamber and BID member Shalini Bahl Milne of Downtown Mindfulness expressed the essence of the Tip Jar by posting on Facebook, “not a complete solution, but every dollar and thought counts. It lets our businesses know that we care! I know that kindness is contagious.”

E-mail Claudia Pazmany, the chamber’s executive director, at [email protected] or Gould at [email protected] with any inquiries.

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