How to Help Small Businesses That Were Looted (Note: This Doesn't Mean You Have to Grab a Broom and Help In Person)

Cassidy Chansirik

Doesn't it seem like ages ago when agitators, posing as protesters, looted businesses across America? Well, it was less than a month ago. And many of those small businesses still haven't recovered. 

Small businesses are the backbone of America. Nearly 30% of businesses in this country are small businesses, and approximately 60 million Americans are employed by a small business. 

2020 has been a rough year for them. 

First the COVID-19 pandemic forced many to close their doors. 

While the government tried to help by providing business owners with PPP loans, a recent survey conducted by the Census Bureau found that only 38.1% of small businesses have been able to receive emergency funds from the Small Business Administration. 

Then came even more trouble after George Floyd's murder. Many small businesses were looted or otherwise damaged. 

Riots, like those we saw less than a month ago, can cause long-term devastation in communities. Some businesses on the West side of Chicago, where looters set fires and emptied stores in early June, were still recovering from the after-shocks of riots that occurred in 1968. Block Club reported, "After the [1968] riots, many businesses in Garfield Park and North Lawndale were forced to close or burned down and the area never recovered. An abundance of vacant lots remain in the area from shops and homes that were burned down and never rebuilt."

If you would like to help businesses that were looted and  still need help, here are some ideas. 

Organize a clean-up crew or join an existing one.
Sure, most small businesses have swept up the glass. But many haven't removed the plywood yet, or done heavier repairs because they are just getting insurance checks to rebuild now. Because of social media, many community members have contacted one another to organize clean-up crews. 
In Cambodia Town in Long Beach, California, volunteers met early in the morning to sweep the sidewalks free of glass and clean graffiti on store exteriors. 
Reach out directly to store owners that have been affected.
Small business store owners that have been affected by looting say that speaking directly with community members has been one of their greatest sources of support.  
If you’re not sure what to say to a store owner, you can use the following script: 
“Hello, my name is ______, and I heard that your store was looted during the recent protests. I am a member of the community and I care deeply about small businesses, especially yours. It is important that small businesses in our area are rebuilt and I know that this may be especially difficult to do right now. What can I do to help?”
Donate to GoFundMe campaigns started directly by store owners.   

Many small business owners have created GoFundMe campaigns to help with repairs and other costs incurred because of the looting. 
In Chicago, Illinois, Sandra Na created a GoFundMe campaign for her father’s beauty supply store. Through donations and social media posts, the campaign has raised over $80,000 and has created volunteer clean-up crews for other stores that were looted in the Bronzeville neighborhood.    
Donate to local organizations collecting money for small businesses affected by looting. 
Below are some local organizations that are collecting money for small businesses affected by looting:
Bay Area


Some community organizations and nonprofits have also started funding campaigns directly on GoFundMe

“As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself, the other for helping others.” – Maya Angelou

This article is intended to convey generally useful information only and does not constitute legal advice. Any opinions expressed are solely those of the author, not LawChamps.




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