The Small Business Relief Fund,  a partnership between the Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama and the Community Foundation of West Alabama, distributed another $40,000 to area entrepreneurs Monday, bringing total disbursements to $140,000.

The fund was established last month to assist business owners who have seen foot traffic and sales plummet in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and the social distancing measures it has necessitated.

The Small Business Relief Fund includes donations from a range of entities, including local businesses. Recipients are selected by a committee composed of business and community leaders and are generally kept anonymous.

“Providing immediate help to small businesses in this challenging time was top of mind for everyone involved in this process,” said Bobby Bragg, Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Chamber. “We’re so pleased so many businesses have taken advantage of this fund.”

Jim Page, President and CEO of the Chamber, said he was appreciative of the donors who helped make the fund a success.

“We are fortunate to live in a community with such great corporate citizens, as well as generous individuals,” Page said. “Our donors for this fund stepped up right away and asked how they could pitch in and be of service.”

Audrey Vermilyea, who owns and operates the Monarch Espresso Bar in downtown Tuscaloosa, received an award through the fund and thanked donors and the Chamber for their support.

“For many small businesses, these uncertain times are trying,” Vermilyea said. “Funds like these help us weather the storm and are an encouragement to us and our team. It's a tangible reminder that the community is behind us.”

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