In a blink of an eye, a quick bite to eat at a favorite locally owned pub or visiting a loved one in an assisted living facility became impossible activities amid stay-at-home orders, while personal protective equipment became a part of our wardrobes. For individuals and businesses alike, the COVID-19 pandemic has shaken up our communities and redefined our day-to-day lives.
Camaraderie Amidst Pandemic
Months later, as states begin navigating their new normal – whether they begin to reopen or continue their social distancing protocols – the one thing that has prevailed is the overwhelming sense of community and support shown towards each other.
From once providing locals with customized apparel for marathons, school outings and recreational sports tournaments, owners of the t-shirt printing franchise, Big Frog Custom T-Shirts & More, quickly rerouted and are now using their resources to create masks for the community and healthcare professionals, making those in assisted living homes feel loved, and supporting other small businesses in this time of need. While some Big Frog locations had to close their doors and others had to modify their operations, its franchise owners saw this time as an opportunity to step up in their communities in a different way.
“We didn’t expect anything less of our franchise partners, and we are humbled to hear first-hand that dozens of our franchisees have stepped up in their own unique way to provide comfort, support and compassion to their communities,” said Tina Bacon-DeFrece, President and CEO of Big Frog. “In addition to extending a hand to their neighbors, they came together, as a part of Big Frog’s franchise network, to offer words of wisdom and best practices on how to navigate through the hardships inflicted by the pandemic.”
Hop to it: The Gift of Giveback
Notably, across the smorgasbord of ways Big Frog franchisees have stepped up, is Basil Bearer and Brittany Miller, owners of Big Frog Custom T-Shirts & More of Mequon, WI who have launched an initiative with the help of Home Helpers Home Care to bring messages of love, health and hope to local elderly residents in assisted living communities during the COVID-19 outbreak. The messages – written by the residents’ loved ones, who may be unable to see them in person – are printed on a t-shirt and delivered to the facility, free of charge for all involved. With the gracious donations of local businesses in the area, 300+ shirts will be created and delivered to residents in various living communities throughout their area.
Big Frog of Mequon chose to give back in this aspect as they recognized this community as one that is being hit the hardest by the virus – many of whom are even more isolated from those who bring them the most comfort and love. The first shipment of shirts was delivered to Hamilton House Senior Living in Cedarburg, WI with messages of hope, love and unwavering strength written by family members big and small.
Likewise, providing support in their community is Lori Mumma Jozwiak owner of Big Frog Custom T-Shirts & More of Naperville, IL, who has launched a collaborative fundraising campaign, “Better Together,” that helps support other small businesses in the area. Each business that sells a t-shirt will receive $6 back per shirt, and can choose how these funds are spent. For example, some businesses might wish to donate to a local charity while others for operational costs due to closures – such as providing support for furloughed bartenders and servers.
This campaign wasn’t the first community-centric idea from Lori and Big Frog of Naperville. When COVID-19 first began, Lori pulled from her experience as a social worker paired with her sewing skills to whip up masks each day, which she puts outside of her shop for the community to take as Illinois faces at least another month of social distancing.
Lori also donated 80 #NurseLife themed shirts to the COVID-19 unit at Edwards Hospital since a lot of nurses expressed worry that they’d carry the virus back to their families or had to unexpectedly stay the night, she wanted to provide them with an empowering, clean shirt.
Big Frog has stuck by its commitment as a brand that is immersed in the day-to-day lives of the 90 communities it serves, while showcasing its shared understanding the impact the pandemic has had on all facets of society.
Tina Bacon-DeFrece is the CEO of Big Frog. To find out more about Big Frog Custom T-Shirts & More, click here.