2020 has been a year unlike any other. The COVID-19 pandemic dramatically impacted our business community, and we continue to work hard to recover.
Early in the pandemic, the Temple Chamber of Commerce recognized that we had a vital role in helping our community through the crisis. Our focus has been on providing as many resources as possible to support our region’s business community and serve as an information provider.
The strength of the Temple Chamber of Commerce is not any particular program or event, but rather comes from the network we have built over our 113-year history. We are the hub of a vast network that includes local businesses, all levels of government, state and national business associations, local organizations, schools, and more.
This strength came to the forefront with the turmoil of 2020. The Temple Chamber was in a position to help many local businesses by serving as a mouthpiece for the information that was coming in quickly from our network. This led to the creation of the Temple Strong initiative, a comprehensive webpage that serves as a one-stop experience for businesses seeking the latest information regarding COVID-19, and a multitude of COVID-19 specific email communications beginning in April 2020.
The Temple Chamber of Commerce is a membership-driven organization where businesses pay dues to become members, and those members get plugged into the Chamber network. However, the economic vitality of our community can only be maintained with a positive business climate, so the information that was shared was not limited to only member businesses. We had information coming in from the state, our U.S. Senators and Representatives offices, as well as from County and City officials. Everyone needed help, and the Temple Chamber of Commerce was there to help.
With continuing uncertainty and state-mandated closures or occupancy restrictions, the Temple Chamber of Commerce created a space on social media for local businesses to inform a larger audience about their operations and offerings. Two Facebook groups, Temple Strong: Takeout, Curbside, and Delivery Options and Temple Strong: Open for Business, were created.
The Temple Chamber of Commerce also tapped into our network to provide a morale boost to front-line workers. The U.S. Army Salute Heroes fly over in May 2020 resulted from our outreach to Congressman John Carter and III Corps/Fort Hood. Blackhawk and Chinook Helicopters from 1st Air Cav Brigade/1st Cavalry Division/Fort Hood flew over health care facilities in Temple, Belton, Georgetown, Round Rock, Cedar Park, Harker Heights, Gatesville, Copperas Cove, and Killeen.
The Temple Chamber of Commerce refused to be deterred by the setbacks brought forth by the pandemic. The majority of in-person events shifted to a virtual environment. We provided over 20 virtual programs and have reached more than 1,500 participants.
The 36th Annual Military Appreciation Luncheon was reimagined into lunch to go and a virtual presentation. This new platform also allowed us to recognize first responders and front-line workers. We safely served 2,000 to-go meals to show appreciation to those who have and continue to give so much. We were also able to shift our annual Spirit of Santa Fe Wine Festival into a two-week trail that celebrated local craft beverages, wines, and homegrown restaurants.
Though there were many struggles, the past year also inspired innovation, strengthened compassion, and redefined the meaning of perseverance. Temple Chamber of Commerce members stepped up to support the community. They provided healthcare workers vital equipment in short supply, helped non-profits with donations, supported the community with various services, and helped keep spirits high during a time of uncertainty.
Here are a handful of examples of how Temple Chamber Members helped amid the COVID-19 pandemic:
The Temple Chamber of Commerce is filled with gratitude for our members and the community. Our efforts to support the business community would not be possible without the support of our members. 2020 has shown us that there is no better time to be a member of the Temple Chamber of Commerce. We have a vital role in our local community and are positioned to help preserve, protect, and promote a positive business environment in the greater Temple, TX area in 2021 and beyond.
For those not already plugged into our network, we invite you to learn more about the Chamber on our website or by calling (254) 773-2105.