GRCC works with chamber to support staff, local businesses

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Great River Care Center and Turner Pointe Assisted Living (GRCC) is working with the McGregor-Marquette Chamber of Commerce to provide all of its employees with shift bonuses in the form of chamber dollars during the COVID-19 pandemic. The effort will circulate between $14,000 and $15,000 to local businesses over the next few months, according to Mar-Mac Chamber Director Ashley Kishman.

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times

Great River Care Center and Turner Pointe Assisted Living (GRCC) is working with the McGregor-Marquette Chamber of Commerce to provide all of its employees with shift bonuses in the form of chamber dollars during the COVID-19 pandemic. The effort will circulate between $14,000 and $15,000 to local businesses over the next few months, according to Mar-Mac Chamber Director Ashley Kishman.

The McGregor facility has no cases of COVID-19, and staff have been continuing to follow guidance from the Iowa Department of Public Health to ensure the safety of residents and tenants, said GRCC Administrator Kate Landt. GRCC has altered its day-to-day operations, restricting visitors and large group activities and adjusting dining routines.

“We have made many adjustments that have been going well and both staff and residents/tenants have adjusted well,” Landt shared. “We have introduced many different technologies to keep us connected to the community.”

That includes usage of FaceTime and video messaging and live stream church services. Staff encourage emails, cards and letters to loved ones, and people can even display posters or signs outside residents’ windows.

The coronavirus threat has impacted life outside work too. GRCC employees have had to make adjustments due to school closures and limited daycare openings, and they’re dealing with additional expenses.

“There were many options that were discussed as to the best way to show appreciation to our staff through this time. We understand they may be working longer and harder and we want to ensure they are taken care of as much as our residents/tenants are,” Landt emphasized. “The purchasing of chamber dollars was the best way to support not only our staff but our community as well.”

Kishman was busy last week writing out the first set of chamber dollar checks. They will be distributed in smaller $5 and $10 increments, preventing the need for change. All Mar-Mac Chamber member businesses can accept the dollars just like a gift certificate. Members range from convenience stores and restaurants to retail shops and service businesses.

“The money will stay local, helping businesses right now, when they need it the most,” Kishman said. “And it can be used as we begin to open our doors as normal in the months ahead.”

Through this effort, Landt hopes the GRCC staff will recognize how much they are appreciated, not only at this time, but always. 

“The staff at Great River Care Center and Turner Pointe Assisted Living truly make working and living here feel like home,” she added.

Additionally, Landt anticipates it will bring the community a sense of togetherness.

“I hope the purchase of the chamber bucks will boost spirits now and give people hope that things will get better,” she remarked.

If other businesses are interested in facilitating a similar plan, Kishman encourages them to reach out to her.

“As we go forward, it’s important to be creative,” she said. “We’ll figure out how to make it work for everyone.”

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