The Little Tokyo Community Council (LTCC) announced the organization of the Little Tokyo Small Business Relief Fund as a GoFundMe crowdfunding effort in partnership with Little Tokyo Service Center (LTSC) to provide financial support to local businesses during the crisis current COVID-19.
Previously, in response to the pandemic that forced restricted access to essential businesses like restaurants, LTCC developed the Community Feeding Community (CFC) program. Donations were collected to purchase meals at restaurants in Little Tokyo that were distributed free of charge to hotel workers and others whose jobs were directly affected by the crisis.
Raising public awareness of PCP through traditional and social media propelled the fundraiser to over $ 100,000, enabling the program to support 75 businesses and distribute over 6,000 meals in three months.
With the CFC having concluded its initial program this month, LTCC has begun discussing possible options with staff at LTSC’s Small Business Assistance Program to continue supporting small businesses in Little Tokyo. LTCC in particular wanted to focus on businesses that were recently allowed to reopen, such as retail stores, hair and nail salons, and bars, as well as traditional businesses. It is estimated that there are 400 businesses in the Little Tokyo district, almost all of which are facing severe impacts from the pandemic.
âAs chairman of the board of the Little Tokyo Community Council, I have been extremely pleased with the success of the Community Feeding Community program in helping our local restaurants,â said Doug Aihara. âBut I know there are many other types of small establishments besides restaurants and that they are also in need. We hope that the Little Tokyo Small Business Relief Fund can give them a little help during this difficult situation. “
Kristin Fukushima, Managing Director of LTCC, added, âLTCC and LTSC hope that by establishing the Little Tokyo Small Business Relief Fund and reaching out to local businesses, we can encourage them to persevere in this unprecedented situation. Our community has already gone through difficult times coming together. We believe that by educating everyone about this fund and its purpose, we are creating an opportunity for people to express their support for Little Tokyo and its businesses. “
Eligibility will be determined during the application process, and application and eligibility information will be available on the web page, littletokyola.org/gofundme. LTSC Small Business Assistance Program staff will be available to help you complete applications.
For assistance in English, contact Megan Teramoto at [email protected] and for assistance in Japanese, contact Mariko Lochridge at [email protected] Interpretation in Korean, Chinese and Spanish is available; requests can be made in the language at Lochridge.
For those interested in donating to the Little Tokyo Small Business Relief Fund, visit littletokyola.org/gofundme. For general inquiries, contact Kristin Fukushima at [email protected] (English) or Kisa Ito at [email protected]