Two Fort Walton Beach businesses find little ways to give back to the community amid struggling themselves during the coronavirus outbreak.

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FORT WALTON BEACH — Like many others, Dirk and Jennifer Flad’s small business was affected by the coronavirus outbreak.

They have three offices for their residential cleaning company, Two Maids & a Mop, in Fort Walton Beach, Pensacola and Baldwin County. They have not only lost customers, but also added cleaning supplies to their arsenal to fight the coronavirus.

The Flads understood customers not wanting cleaners in their homes because of social distancing, but they want to thank the customers who stayed with them.

“I think it can be something much more meaningful than a flower bouquet,” Dirk said. “We saw in the news that food banks are running out of products, so we said, ‘Hey, in each city, let’s find a food bank.’”

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The business donated money to food pantries in the cities of their respective offices, Manna Food Pantry in Pensacola, Sharing & Caring in Fort Walton Beach and Prodisee Pantry in Baldwin County, Alabama, in honor of their customers and sent each customer a postcard to share the news. The response from the food banks was “overwhelming excitement.”

“Money helps all the time,” he said. “Rather than us buying tomato soup and dropping 8,000 cans of tomato soup, we just gave them the money and said, ‘Do whatever you want to do with it.’ Very well received.”

The Flads were not only excited to thank their customers and help the community, but also had a positive impact on their employees.

“In residential cleaning, some of our folks maybe come from situations where they maybe are using food banks,” Dirk said. “That was a positive thing for our staff that are still with us for them to say, ‘The company I’m a part of, look what we are doing.’ I think that meant a lot to them.”

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Another couple behind a small business, Jeff and Donna Harris of Run With It in Fort Walton Beach, found a unique approach to giving back. Anchor Screen Printing in Fort Walton Beach approached them about its T-shirt charity, in which it prints T-shirts to raise money for small businesses hurting financially because of the pandemic.

The two quickly agreed. But, after being open 11 years, they felt financially secure and didn’t want to keep the profits.

“I didn’t feel like I needed the money as much as some of the other businesses around,” Jeff said. “We were like, ‘Yeah, we would be glad to do it, but could we give the money back to you to pay for the T-shirt?’”

Rather than keeping half of the profits from the $20, both businesses agreed to donate the money to other small businesses in need. They promoted all of Anchor Screen Printing’s small business T-shirts on social media.

“We had a lot of response, because I’m very active on Facebook,” Donna said. “A lot of our friends ordered some and I know we ordered probably about 10 – not just our shirts, but from other businesses, of course Anchor, because their slogan is ‘Anchoring Okaloosa,’ which I just think is fabulous.”

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