The Indiana Area School District is working on adding a third meal distribution point in addition to Ben Franklin Elementary School and Indiana Area Senior High School, where breakfasts and lunches are being served daily to children in the district ages 2 to 18. District officials said they would soon provide details of a meal service site in the Shelocta area.
The district’s food service staff provides meals in drive-thru style from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday. The meals are free, regardless of household income. Lunch and breakfast servings are provided at the same time.
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Cancellation of extracurricular activities at Indiana Area School District has been doubly disappointing for student performers and faculty directors of the junior high play, “Fiddler on the Roof.”
Not only was the performance called off and four months of rehearsals went for naught, the drama club was stuck with nonrefundable bills to pay for costume, prop and equipment rental for the show. The expense ran into the thousands of dollars.
Eighth-grader Fiona McQuaide has launched a GoFundMe crowd-funding campaign to help replenish the club’s coffers. Without cash on hand when school resumes, the 50-member club may not be able to have another production.
Online donors may make pledges toward the $5,000 goal at https://bit.ly/iajhs-fiddler.
“We had been working for around four months every night from 2:50 to 5 or 6,” McQuaide explains to GoFundMe supporters. “But, we were also devastated because we realized our theater club was around $5,000 in debt. We just want to help out our beloved director and friend (faculty adviser Robin Bailey-Orchard) in this time of need. So please, donate whatever you can or would like to do so that we can get our show back on the road — or should I say, the roof!”
SMALL BUSINESS CENTER
The 16 Pennsylvania Small Business Development Centers (PASBDCs), including that at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, offer their experience and track record in providing needed technical assistance and information to businesses negatively impacted by such external factors as COVID-19 or coronavirus.
“Our consultants work one on one with businesses to help them make better business decisions and find answers to the critical questions they have,” said Tony Palamone, director of the center at IUP.
The centers enhanced their pasbdc.org /services/ continuity/disruption-recovery website to give businesses a go-to place for answers to their pressing questions, and will continue to update the webpage as more information is shared and announcements are made.
That includes being a resource partner of the U.S. Small Business Administration, as it offers low-interest federal disaster loans for working capital to small businesses suffering substantial economic injury as a result of COVID-19.
SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans offer up to $2 million in assistance, to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact. The interest rate is 3.75 percent for small businesses without credit available elsewhere; businesses with credit available elsewhere are not eligible.
Nonprofits also can apply for the loans at an interest rate of 2.75 percent. SBA offers loans with long-term repayments in order to keep payments affordable, up to a maximum of 30 years. Terms are determined on a case-by-case basis, based upon each borrower’s ability to repay.
SBDCs including that at IUP offer consulting that is confidential and at no charge by a staff of skilled professionals, in such areas as management and marketing assistance, business planning, loan packaging, environmental management and energy efficiency, and long- and short-term growth strategies.
“Although our center has moved to remote operations, consulting services are available by telephone and virtual conferences,” Palamone said.
Businesses may file a request for counseling online at www.iup.edu, or contact the IUP SBDC by email at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (724) 357-5729 Monday through Friday between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.
The IUP SBDC provides services primarily to businesses in Indiana County, but can serve PA businesses outside the county. Funding for the SBDCs is provided by SBA, the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) and host institutions.
LOANS FOR WORKING CAPITAL
The Indiana County Center for Economic Operations said Wednesday that the Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority is finalizing a plan to open working capital to those businesses in most dire need due to the downturn caused by COVID-19.
ICCEO said PIDA is committed in getting these loans out as quickly as possible. Some points made by PIDA:
• For-profit businesses with less than 100 employees are eligible to apply.
• Maximum working capital loan for a borrower will be capped at $100,000.
• Loan funds can be used for operations, inventory, payroll, rent, or costs incurred to keep the business’s doors open.
ICCEO and PIDA said there will be no match requirement, except for businesses in the retail and service sector, which requires a 50 percent match.
They said the program will feature a zero percent interest rate (except for agricultural producers, whose rate is restricted to a 2 percent minimum by law).
The loans will be for a three-year term with no payment due in the first 12 months. Years 2 and 3 require a principal and interest payment based on 12-year amortization with a balloon payment due at loan maturity.
Collateral will be a blanket lien on all business assets at the highest possible position. If a business has already committed its assets as collateral to another lending institution, PIDA will allow a subordinate collateral position on the business’s assets.
Also, a personal guarantee for any owner with 20 percent or more ownership interest will be required.
The county and state agencies said the program will essentially function as a reimbursement of working capital costs for the past three months.
They said there is approximately $61 million available statewide.
The two agencies recommend that would-be applicants for the COVID-19 Working Capital Access should:
• Begin compiling the working capital/operating costs incurred for the past three months (i.e., inventory, utilities, rent, payroll, etc.). For retail applicants, begin compiling working capital/operating costs incurred for the past six months.
• Develop a brief project narrative including amount of loan requested; indication if the business has been temporarily closed due to COVID-19 (including closure date and anticipated opening date); a brief description of your adverse financial impact; and how the working capital loan will be used.
They suggest ordering a credit report for everyone with 20 percent or more ownership tools interest in a business seeking the aid, and that free online credit report tools such as Experian should suffice.
The two agencies said the most recent year-end tax return or accountant prepared financial statement for established businesses also is required, but for businesses less than one year old, a management prepared financial statement will suffice.
Those needing more details can email email@example.com or call (724) 465-2662.