Each year, the supportive members of the Gallia County Chamber of Commerce, along with their annual dues, choose sponsorship opportunities. The largest annual sponsorship opportunity is the Gallipolis River Recreation Festival. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the River Rec committee and Chamber Board of Directors were forced to cancel the annual event. However, this left the Chamber staff to determine a respectable and useful way to utilize those sponsorship funds, benefit the community, and promote their members. “This pandemic has been a struggle for everyone, residents and businesses. Our River Rec supporters are typically the greatest community support and we wanted to create another meaningful way for them to uphold those values”, stated Chamber Executive Director Elisha Orsbon.
On August 18th and 20th, Chamber Staff and board president Jenni Swain met with sponsoring businesses and the fourteen Chamber member schools to present donations acquired with the sponsorship funds from the canceled festival. Each school received bottles of hand sanitizer, packages of paper towels, boxes of tissues, pencils, index cards, notebooks, folders, crayons for elementary schools, ear buds for middle and high school, among other necessary items.
Each school expressed their gratitude toward the businesses for donations. Gallia Academy High School Principal Mr. Donley stated “On behalf of Gallia Academy High School I’d like to thank OVEC and McDonalds for their kind donation. The class and hygiene supplies will help our students and teachers greatly as we head into this school year. Our school system couldn’t function without the help and support from our community! This year, more than ever it will take a village!” South Gallia Middle and High School Principal Bray Shamblin added, “[We] are thankful and blessed to be part of a community that cares not only for their community partners but also the children of Gallia County. We appreciate the Chamber of Commerce, their businesses, and their commitment to meet and exceed the needs of everyone in Gallia County.”
While making their first of three trips for supply purchases, Chamber staff touched base with Walmart Gallipolis Manager, Rick Gainey, to inform him of the bulk purchases being made and allowing him to confirm quantities. In favor of the idea, Walmart donated a $200 gift card in support of the project.
In response to the collaboration, Chamber President Jenni Swain stated, “We were honored to deliver supplies for our local schools from business sponsors. We are very thankful for the staff at each of the schools and we are proud of our business community for supporting them. We pray for a safe and healthy school year for all.”