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Local businesses, bartenders, and servers are being hit hard by COVID-19. Their work has drastically changed because of the precautionary measures and effects of the pandemic. Businesses have shut down, reduced hours, and transitioned to contact-less services.

Incomes are no longer steady. Employees are facing uncertainty. But, there is hope.

Raising Funds for Racine

Racine County resident, Stan Anderson, and his family are making a positive impact. Through a nationwide internet challenge, they are changing lives, locally. The “Venmo Challenge” started in the Spring of 2020 by a TikTok user. Now, it’s taking effect in Racine County.

It’s a simple process that makes a big impact. These donations are primary happening via Venmo, a mobile banking app. Anderson collects money, then he acts as the delivery man. He visits local establishments and distributes the funds collected to bartenders, waitresses, and cooks.

Anderson says, “small businesses are the backbone of our country.  Too many small businesses were closing…not for the season, but forever.” Angered by the situation, he took the problem into his own hands.

He comments, “instead of looking to others for solutions, I decided my family and I can do something.”

The Impact

The first distribution was on September 25. That day is also Anderson’s wife’s birthday. Former Miss Racine 1987, Mary Purath Anderson knows all about dedicating time and serving this community. While Anderson is not from the area, he’s certainly leaving his mark on the town.

Anderson grew close to the Southeastern Wisconsin area from his days playing soccer at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside. The two connected and eventually found forever in Mount Pleasant. Day to day, Anderson is Chicago FC United Soccer Coach. Additionally, he runs the largest goalkeeper camp in the world called Camp Shutout.

Their connections to Racine are strong and their working that to their advantage. The couple does not make any money off this, but their connections are helping to reel in money into a pool.

What started at O’Dennis! Saloon & Charcoal House and Wells Brothers Italian Restaurant were making a tip of $500. Now thousands of dollars later, local food industry workers are being praised for their adversity.

The Pay Off

When Racine needs help, we rally together. Businesses in Racine County can testify to the value of this project. So who are the other recipients? The pay off even has gone beyond the Racine County border.

Employees at The Beacon Tavern and Grill felt incredibly thankful for the token of appreciation that was given to them.

Erin Genrich says, “food industry workers have been struggling and have been trying to be as creative as possible to get customers in the door, at the same time we understand people are scared as are we, at times! We just even appreciate people ordering so we still have jobs!”

This donation event is impactful and truly makes a difference in the food industry. Positivity speaks louder than the evilness of this pandemic. Genrich also says, “It made Jen, the manager, [and] I remember that there are kind people out there. We’re grateful [to] them for thinking of us.”

Just like many Racine businesses, Genrich says, “We work incredibly hard to make all of our customers feel safe. It is our number 1 goal!” If you can donate, do that. Otherwise, dine and shop locally, too.

A Win for Racine

Anderson says, “The best part is the positivity. We can all win here…nothing wrong with that. People give and they win. People receive and the win. We deliver and we win. Relationships develop and we win. People comment positively via social media and we all win.”

It’s a win for Racine. Through the pandemic, what we have is each other. What we cherish is each other. This challenge is more than money.

Anderson comments that “The best moment is when the recipient receives the money. In that moment, I largely go blank. As it is their moment and I stumble over my words a bit…to see genuine joy and surprise is a great feeling…I’m representing everybody…I might be the car but everyone that contributes is the gas.”

Get Involved

Whether it’s a dollar or a large donation, every penny counts. You can help by donation to the Venmo fund. The username to donate to is @marypanderson and if asked, the last four digits to enter are 1775.

If you don’t have the Venmo app, but would still like to give, contact Stan Anderson. Message him on Facebook by clicking here. Email questions or comments to Other forms of payments can additionally be arranged.

If you cannot get involved by donating, other ways to involve yourself in this project is by sharing this article or details on social media.

Nominate a Business

If there is a business that you love, consider nominating them to be the next Racine County Eye Business Spotlight. Click here to nominate them. Read about other local businesses and their stories here. Contact Emma Widmar at for more information.

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