A woman briskly walks into a deserted Kings Beach Safeway, seemingly unphased by the lack of commotion in the normally bustling grocery store. She passes the fresh produce section, then the canned goods, then the empty aisle of paper goods, until she arrived at the Visa prepaid card stand. Without a moment’s pause, she collected $5,000 worth of $100 and $50 cards, purchased them at the counter, then went to her Kings Beach ice cream shop, Sweet Tahoe Time, where she began providing immediate relief to community members. This selfless hero goes by the name of Beth Moxley.
While the COVID-19 pandemic continues to instill social anxiety, health concerns, and economic instability, Moxley is one of many individuals, small business owners and organizations rallying to combat the negative impacts of the Coronavirus. While much of the population is now out of work, the need is critical.
Moxley, an arborist, moved to the Lake Tahoe area in 1986 after college and started Rockwood Tree Service. After its continued success, Moxley then opened Sweet Tahoe Time, and started a nonprofit called Sweet Charity. Moxley, and her work through Sweet Charity, helps impact locals directly facing issues such as homelessness, escaping domestic abuse and unemployment. Now her focus is on fighting the social effects of Coronavirus.
“I truly believe that success is not measured by what you make, but by what you give back,” Moxley said. “My biggest campaign is writing letters to landlords, encouraging them to give the tenants a month free rent in April. I’ve gotten 15 so far including myself.”
Amie Quirarte, a real estate agent with Tahoe Luxury Properties, is also joining the fight. She started an Emergency Relief – Tahoe/Truckee Covid-19 Facebook page.
“What we’ve been able to do is create a network of people who are willing to help and match them with people who need help,” Quirarte said. “Tasks range from anything like grocery shopping for people that can’t leave the house or people that don’t have money to do their grocery shopping, to creating goodie bags for the hospital workers at Tahoe Forest, the senior center, and for the grocery store workers in the Truckee/Tahoe area.”
Quirarte has also set up a GoFundMe page to assist those in need that may not qualify for assistance due to the requirements of a 501 nonprofit.
“We are also helping undocumented people in the Hispanic community,” Quirarte said. “That’s been one of our primaries focuses too because even once the government bailout comes, and people can get a check for $1,200 if they’re undocumented, they’re not going get it.”
Until recently, Quirarte has been using her funds to accomplish her goals. But more help is arriving. The owners of Tahoe luxury properties have seeded another fund and more than $20,000 to support the efforts. Quirarte is also working with the nonprofit associated with the Truckee Tahoe People Facebook page. It just received a $15,000 donation to assist locals in need.
“Many of the calls that I’m getting are heartbreaking and devastatingly gut-wrenching, to say the least,” Quirarte said. “I was on the phone with a single dad with a 4-year-old daughter who was at the grocery store and had to put groceries back because he couldn’t afford it.”
South Lake small business owner Jade Child has been spending her spare time sewing masks at home and distributing them at grocery stores and post offices.
“My grandma made two masks for my dad and uncle who both works for Barton Memorial” Child said. “I thought that since I have all this leftover material, I might as well put to good use and make something that can help the community!”
Child has now received nearly 200 requests and is raising money from people in the community to keep her mission moving forward.
Nillie and Sierra Nevada University alumni Jonas Saia, owners of Austin’s Restaurant and FUMO in Incline Village, are working tirelessly to provide healthy meal options on the go.
“Since things have changed, we immediately started offering curbside pickup where we bring it out to your car and free delivery of not only our full menu, but groceries as well,” Nillie said. “That includes cleaning supplies, fresh meat, seafood, produce and even toilet paper.”
Nillie and Jonas have implemented a donation tab (https://austinstahoe.com/shop/ols/products/donation-for-families-in-need) on their website so people in the community can donate meals and supplies to those in need. Nillie and Jonas too have been donating free food and produce to their employees and some patrons to set the example for others in the community to follow.
“We wanted people to have ease and peace of mind knowing their food is coming from a certified kitchen with certified food handlers and not even have to leave the comfort of their home,” Nillie said.
Alexandria Gollhofer, the owner of Poke on the Lake in Truckee, is implementing a community bowl program where they provide customers with a reusable/recyclable bowl that they can use for a discounted price.
“Also if patrons are willing to donate the points that they receive on each transaction, we can help maintain the health of our community and make sure that someone doesn’t have to choose between a healthy option or rent, but they will be able to have a healthy option and maintain the health of the community.”
There are also larger organizations providing much-needed services to the community such as the Boys & Girls Club of North Lake Tahoe. The club is providing a virtual club and activity packs to keep club members engaged and connected with their community as well as dinner services for local families in Incline Village and Kings Beach. Much of their efforts are possible because of funding from The Dave and Cheryl Duffield Foundation.
The Incline Rotary Club will also provide monetary support through grants and micro-loans soon and plans to make donations to local service providers such as the Boys & Girls Club of North Lake Tahoe. Information regarding the Incline Rotary Club’s efforts can be found at http://angelatyourdoor.org/.
“When there’s darkness, you always have to try to find the light,” Quirarte said. “But when you can’t find the light, then you have to create it.”
More community members making a positive impact include:
Paul Bancroft of Sierra Community House
Jess Perry Carr at Sierra Business Council/Small Business Development Center
Incline Village Community Hospital
Brewforia for providing meals to people in need
Do you know a local Tahoe-Truckee individual or business lending a hand during coronavirus pandemic? E-mail [email protected]