MAHOMET — Local business leaders want Mahomet residents to remember one website and one phone number in particular as the community continues to respond to the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Those key connections are visitmahomet.com and 252-BULLDOG.
“Mahomet, this is a very important time for us to come together and to help our fellow citizens or fellow residents and local businesses,” Darwyn Boston, local State Farm Insurance agent, says in a video at visitmahomet.com.
The Mahomet Area Chamber of Commerce has two primary efforts in place at this time to aid residents and local business owners as “shelter in place” orders from Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker continue in the fight against the spread of the coronavirus.
“We’re trying to make sure that our little community is taken care of; that’s our main focus right now,” said Walter Pierce, chamber director.
First, as Boston explains in the video, the chamber offers delivery services to those living in the 61853 ZIP code primarily from Mahomet IGA/Schnucks, Walgreens and CVS Pharmacy.
Boston said this week that volunteers will deliver from any local business at this time, but getting meals delivered through this service as hot and ready is a challenge. Residents are advised to contact businesses directly, and info for most area establishments is on
“While this is not going to be a perfect service, it is going to be based upon the needs and the volunteer base that we have and how quickly we can deliver these essential items to the residents in the area,” Boston says via the video.
People interested should call 252-BULLDOG (252-285-5364) or email email@example.com to order delivery.
There is a 7 percent surcharge requested on the deliveries, but Boston said leaders are more interested in serving those in need than collecting large amounts of money for the service.
Find more information at visitmahomet.com.
He noted, however, that all money for discounts, rewards or any charges or donations for the delivery service will go to the second primary effort by the chamber in this time of fighting COVID-19: the Business Relief Fund for local Mahomet establishments.
For the relief fund, the chamber will accept donations to local businesses at the same above-mentioned phone number and email; or residents can offer donations at the Fisher National Bank or State Bank of Forrest drive-ups. Checks should be made to the Mahomet Area Chamber of Commerce.
“Any donations and all revenue will go directly to local business relief,” Boston notes.
Distribution will be based on need. Business owners who need assistance should email firstname.lastname@example.org.
So far, Boston said this week, the efforts by the chamber are going well.
“We have an abundance of volunteers and we’re starting to get quite a few business relief donations, so actually we’ve been very pleased,” Boston said Tuesday. “We’re not getting a lot of requests for delivery right now, but we anticipate that’s going to pick up.”
The idea for the pair of outreach programs came from among village, chamber and local business officials cooperating, Pierce said.
“It was just a combination,” he said. “The chamber came up with it at the same time the village did, so it made it very easy to say ‘yes’ to both of those things. The village is 100 percent behind it.
“I am very, very, very blessed in that as a chamber we get along so well with the village, we get along so good with the school district, and so when we all come together and get stuff like this happening, it’s great.”
The programs went on-line the evening of March 19. For the delivery service, older folks are calling in but aren’t the only ones using the option.
“It is mostly elderly, but it’s people who just don’t want to get out,” Boston said. “So we’ve had somebody with a cough … a mother with kids at home, and so we’re open to anybody and we thought it would mean mainly the elderly, but we’re seeing a little bit of everybody contact us.”
The volunteers numbered about 12 as of Tuesday.
“The volunteers have been great; it’s just — we want more people to be aware,” Boston said. “I’m worried about people not knowing that the service is there and then not utilizing it.
“I want to make sure everyone’s aware that we have it, and if you don’t want to go out, you don’t have to,” he added.
Boston gives credit to local business owner Evan El Koury for the wealth of information at visitmahomet.com focusing on Mahomet businesses, their current status regarding hours of operation, ways to order items and more.
“We’re really lucky to have him and his talents,” Boston said.
A committee is now in place to help with the Business Relief Fund, which as of Tuesday was about $2,200, Pierce said.
“We really need that to be the push — we are starting to get … businesses … that they just need help through this tough time,” Boston said. “I really want to encourage anybody who’s getting paid at this time, even if it’s $25, every little bit’s going to help.”
Pierce said, “I think that that will continue to build.”
Boston encourages Mahomet residents to continue to frequent restaurants, for example, via delivery, pickup or carry out.
“Go out there and see who’s open and keep the commerce going,” Boston said. “Communities that are proactive during times this are going to have less of an impact than not doing anything.
“We need to all pull together during times like this,” he added.