‘COVID-19 Giveback Challenge’: Small business manager in Carrollwood starts challenge to support local business

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HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – Sammy Hewett, who is one of the general managers at Brewlands Bar & Billiards in Carrollwood, is spearheading a new challenge. She hopes it will help small businesses as well as frontline workers.

Hewett said a customer, who has become a friend, brought the idea of the challenge to her. They put together a plan, and then, they put it into motion.

“My message is to challenge the community of Tampa Bay to come together,” said Hewett.

The name of the challenge is the “COVID-19 Giveback Challenge.”

“It is amazing,” said Hewett. “Just the feeling of helping other people and then being able to make something like this happen and, hopefully, get it to take off.”

Hewett said the customer with the idea already purchased $500 in gift cards from Brewlands Bar & Billiards. He typically brings his son there to play pool.

“They want to do their part to help us, a small business that has been severely affected by the shutdown. We are waiting on small business loans that we do not even know if we are going to get and we are not the only small business in this situation,” she said. “So, if you pick your favorite small business that is affected, help them out.”

Those gift cards, as part of the challenge, are returned to the business and then given to frontline workers.

“I got with my staff,” said Hewett, “and we picked ten recipients to receive $50 gift cards. We have reached out to nurses, police officers, and firefighters, and gifted them. Most of them were like, ‘Oh my God! Thank you so much! Oh, that is awesome!’ Some of them have never been here. There was a police officer I gifted one to and he said, ‘When this is over, I am definitely bringing my whole squad.’ We are a family here and we want to keep it going.”

If you decide to participate in the challenge, Hewett wants to hear about it so post your contribution with #covid19givebackchallenge.

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