DURAND — HQ Fun Bunker, a small family-oriented business, is partnering with Lake Trust Credit Union in a crowdfunding campaign to help other small businesses statewide to minimize the financial effects the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lake Trust is sponsoring the Great Lakes Giveback program, which matches contributions up to $1,000. According to a press release, the program will run until July 31, and up to 75 small businesses across Michigan are taking part.

HQ Fun Bunker co-owner Melanie Pratt said that her business is only operating at about 10 percent of what it normally does. She added that without a Michigan Economic Development Corporation grant, her business would have closed months ago.

“COVID has hit us hard,” Pratt said Friday. “We can’t open up our entertainment stuff until we hit Phase 5. All of that is shut down right now. We rely on people coming in to eat. I do a lot of give backs in the county and do a lot of nonprofit. If it weren’t for people loving us, we would not have been able to stay open this long.”

Lake Trust Community Impact Manager DeAndre Lipscomb said his company is supporting the initiative because small businesses are vital to the strength of the economy and Main Street America.

“We created the program to provide small business assistance during this challenging time,” Lipscomb said. “COVID is hurting a lot of businesses. We believe in supporting small business and shopping local.

“It’s important to us to lend a hand,” Lipscomb continued. “The best way for us to do that was through this crowdfunding effort. We’re excited with the feedback so far and how much has been raised. We believe it’s important to help businesses at this time.”

Thus far, Lake Trust has received and matched contributions from almost 1,000 donors across the state, and has helped support almost 50 small businesses. Lipscomb said Lake Trust’s goal is to help at least 75 businesses, and has already matched about $30,000 in contributions. He said the goal is $80,000.

“The backbone of this country was created and driven by small businesses,” Lipscomb added.

“Small businesses have certainly felt the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Lake Trust CEO David Snodgrass said in a press release. “The Great Lakes Giveback program provides a clear path for members of the community to support the local businesses that are vital to the neighborhood by fueling their needs for critical capital. As an engine of economic well-being, Lake Trust is committed to supporting our members and communities during times of economic challenge as well as during economic growth.”

Information regarding applications, eligibility and a full list of current projects is available at patronicity.com/laketrust. For more information, visit LakeTrust.org.

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