MAYWOOD, Calif. — For many businesses, it’s been months of little to no profit since COVID-19 hit. To help, the City of Maywood has a new grant program for owners who were denied any federal assistance.
Gisselle Delgado is a community services liaison with the City of Maywood and she set out on a journey to spread the good news.
It was nearly 100 degrees in the middle of August, but for Delgado, it felt like Christmas. “I literally feel like Santa Clause just dropping this off,” she said.
She dropped off flyers offering each small business in Maywood up to $10,000.
“I can see the relief in people’s faces when I give them this flier that finally there’s some assistance, finally the City is doing something," Delgado explained. "We’ve been working so hard to get some type of relief for businesses because we do have a lot of them."
Delgado went to store after store after store, letting each owner know they are eligible to apply for the grant. “And it’s really important to say 'grant,' because they’ll think it’s a loan," she added.
The City of Maywood partnered with the L.A. County Development Authority to secure $205,000 from the CARES Act for small businesses struggling to survive COVID-19. The predominately Hispanic, Spanish-speaking town is filled with owners who were denied any federal help, so many were visibly surprised by the grant. "Gratis, free?," they questioned.
“We need relief because three, four months was very, very slow business and my people, my drivers suffered," said Juan Jimenez, owner of M&M Truck Lines, Inc.
Jimenez's truck company is one of about 300 businesses in the small town that only stretches 1.2 miles, but that was before the pandemic. Now chains and fences cover locked doors with signs that say, "cerrado," which means 'closed.'
It was heartbreaking for someone like Delgado, who is so passionate about helping the Latin America community in any way she can.
“Embracing who you are, embracing your identity, showing that it’s ok to be both Ecuadorian and Mexican, and it’s okay to speak Spanish," said Delgado.
Most of the business owners wouldn't have heard about the small business grant program if Delgado didn't come knocking.
“If they are able to apply to this grant, if they’re able to make some good out of it then, oh my gosh, I did my job and that’s all I want," she finished.
Delgado made it her mission to bring Christmas in August to as many businesses as she could. Owners were asked to apply during the week of August 24 to 28. For more information about the grant program, visit here.