LINDENHURST, NY – Local small businesses and organizations recently came together at Babylon Town Hall to thank the Town of Babylon for its Direct Support Program, which distributed vital American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding. The 267 grants from the program helped businesses stay afloat as they recovered economically from the pandemic and has allowed them to pursue post-pandemic growth and prosperity. Over $8.3 million was issued to 192 small businesses, 68 nonprofit organizations and seven veterans groups, and 98 of the recipients are minority- and women-owned businesses.
“Our small businesses place a great deal on the line to drive our local economy,” said Chairman of the Town of Babylon Small Business Committee Councilman Anthony Manetta. “Therefore, it was the Town of Babylon’s goal for our businesses and nonprofits not just to survive but to thrive post-pandemic as well.”
Several business owners testified to the significant impact the program had in maintaining their businesses and, in turn, supporting economic progress and hope for the community. “Many of us had to close our doors for months at a time, which had a significant impact on our businesses and personal finances,” said CBC Wireless owner and grant recipient Reggie Mays. “I do not think we would have survived without the program’s funds.” His Wyandanch business that has been opened since 1995 utilized the money it received to address pandemic-based revenue loss.
“I feel that this year will be a better year for all of us,” said Dalisa Pizza owner and grant recipient Frances Dalisa in her appreciation for the funds. The North Babylon restaurant, previously in Deer Park, has been a local staple for 50 years and used the grant money it was awarded to pay bills and handle rising costs.
Veterans organizations were also deeply grateful for the funds they received, with John Simpkins of Martin Kessler Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States Post 2912 commending the Town on behalf of the contingency. Chair of the Town of Babylon Veterans Advisory Council and former veteran Councilman DuWayne Gregory expressed the importance of including veterans groups in the Direct Support Program, for they provide countless services and programs to the community and help a population that has selflessly sacrificed a great deal for this country.
The Town of Babylon also utilized ARPA funds to make significant investments in public safety through grants to various municipalities and fire departments to purchase life-saving equipment. Using the allocated funds, the Wyandanch Fire Department obtained a new ladder truck, the Lindenhurst and West Babylon Fire Departments received LUCAS devices—which assist with the performance of CPR—and the Copiague Fire Department will soon be acquiring three AEDs. In addition, Babylon Village will be using the funds to purchase an ambulance.
Town of Babylon Supervisor Rich Shaffer expressed his sincere gratitude to those who assisted him in organizing the profoundly impactful program, as well as to all of the recipients for their dedication and contributions to the community. The supervisor, as well as many of the recipients, also delivered a special message of appreciation for Viscel Moore, whose leadership and years of experience made the program possible.