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July 4, 2020

New Sarum donates $9,050 to COVID-19 Relief Fund

By Carl Blankenship
carl.blankenship@salisburypost.com

SALISBURY — New Sarum Brewing donated $9,050 to Rowan County United Way’s COVID-19 Relief Fund on Tuesday.

The brewery raised funds via #RoCoStrong T-shirt sales and its recent Cheerwine Lager release. The donation comes after the brewery was shut down for two months due to COVID-19 and was only recently able to reopen with restrictions under the state’s phase two reopening plan. New Sarum co-owner and brewmaster Andy Maben said shirt sales contributed $3,050 of the donation.

Maben said he came up with the hashtag because he felt like the brewery needed to do something. The beer sales from six packs of 12-ounce cans brought in $6,000 in three hours. Maben said he was surprised by how much the business raised.

“When I wrote that check I was like, ‘holy moly, we did a really good thing,’ ” Maben said, adding he tries to use his platform as much as he can.

Maben said the city recommended the relief fund for a donation and he wanted to make a donation that would keep the money in the community.

“That’s a big chunk of change to make a difference,” Maben said. “Hopefully it does.”

The check goes directly to the county United Way’s COVID-19 Relief Fund. United Way Executive Director Jenny Lee said nonprofits can apply for funds to aid relief programs. The fund has raised more than $230,000 so far.

The fund has distributed $88,864 and the organization has continued its previous grant to Meals on Wheels for an additional $10,000. Meals on Wheels was originally awarded $5,000. Meals on Wheels is using the funding to purchase groceries for adults who are susceptible to COVID-19 but may not qualify as low income.

The relief funds can be used to help families pay for rent, food, utilities and medical expenses. Economic fallout due to the pandemic has resulted in mass unemployment and struggles for local businesses.

“Here we have a local business, in Rowan County, having to make their own cutbacks due to coronavirus, social distancing and restrictions, but here they are stepping out into the community, going over and beyond to make sure they are still helping our neighbors,” Lee said.

United Way Board President Seth Waller said the donation and the fund shows how generous the community is.

“It’s hard to find that,” Waller said. “I’m just proud to live in this community and be part of something like this.”

Waller said when the COVID-19 pandemic made its way to Rowan County the organization tried to react fast, though no one knew what the pandemic would look like.

He said the fund was established quickly and it was good to see the community step up.

The check was presented at the brewery with United Way leadership attending to receive it.

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