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A thank you to the community

How #customerx got off the ground and raised $8,000 for essential workers

April 17, 2020 by Kayla Houp

A recent fundraising effort in Minocqua is hoping to bring healthy food from local restaurants to essential workers during the coronavirus crisis.

The Minocqua Sandwich Company, launched by the Minocqua Brewing Company in March as a response to COVID-19, has raised approximately $8,000 as of April 2 through a Facebook fundraiser called #customerx.

It started with just one anonymous customer donating sandwiches for the Hoard Young Emergency Room, and a Facebook post.

“Somebody donated money to the Minocqua Sandwich Company, orignally, like $100, to give sandwiches to the emergency room at Howard Young,” Minocqua Brewing Company owner Kirk Bangstad said. 

Bangstad said the Minocqua Sandwich Company thanked the anonymous donor in a post on the restaurant’s Facebook page, and from there, the fundraiser grew.

“The Facebook fundraiser is called #customerx, and that’s how people donate,” Bangstad said. “It’s a Facebook fundraiser, you could donate money through Facebook.”

Bangstad said the effort is primarily for health care workers, law enforcement, and other essential personnel working during the COVID-19 crisis, such as truck drivers, the postal service, and more, but could be expanded to include other essential workers potentially being exposed to the virus.

“To a degree, all of these people are getting enhanced exposure to the virus, while all of us are just trying to sit at home and not spread the virus,” Bangstad said.

Bangstad said funds raised by the #customerx efforts were used to deliver food from local restaurants to essential workers as a thank you from the community.

Half of the money raised is being reserved for Howard Young Medical Center staff in the event they need to self-isolate to reduce the risk of exposure, Bangstad said.

“We kind of figure if we spend $200 a day, and we hit different health care offices, sheriff’s offices, and police departments, we kind of rotate different groups, and save half of that, for the cost of it, we could probably go until about mid-May, if we give out $200 a day at $11,000,” Bangstad explained.

Currently, the Minocqua Sandwich Company is working with eight local restaurants with all funds donated going directly to buying food for essential workers.

“The limitations are that we want the money to go as far as it can,” Bangstad said. “So, we’ve invited any local restaurants that want to participate to participate, but you gotta be able to deliver food, and you have to be able to provide a meal for under $10.”

Each day, the #customerx fundraising effort hopes to spend approximately $200 worth of food to two different organizations a day with essential workers.

“If we raise more, we could probably help more people,” Bangstad said. “But at the same time, I don’t want to ask the community to donate tens and tens of thousands of dollars.”

Kayla Houp may be reached via email at [email protected]

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