Community member finds way to support small businesses

Whitman County Quaranteam has raised over $800 so far



Community members are given gift cards for various businesses using money donated to Quaranteam.

ANNA MICHALSON, Evergreen reporter

Whitman County residents are coming together to support small businesses amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Community member Tabitha Ries started Whitman County Quaranteam, an organization that raises money for small businesses and various restaurants that have suffered financially because of the pandemic. 

Ries uses the money donated to give people gift cards, which they can use at the corresponding business. Ries said she walks around town handing out gift cards to people in order to get them to go to different restaurants. 

To increase their customer base, restaurants are able to participate in “feeds,” where they give food to community members, Ries said.

Ries got the idea to start a Quaranteam from Rick Clark, a man in Spokane who raised over $250,000 for small businesses. 

“I did a meeting with [Clark] via Zoom and learned about it, and decided that I wanted to start something down in the Whitman County area and do something similar to that and kind of give back to small businesses,” Ries said. 

So far, Ries has raised over $800 since starting Quaranteam at the end of last year. Community members are able to donate money to the organization through Venmo, Cash App and PayPal. 

Ries has a list of businesses in Whitman County she randomly chooses from when deciding who to support. 

“If I hear [of] a business that is super struggling, we will go to them sooner than others,” Ries said. 

Ries said she does not have a specific goal for how much money she wants to raise, she only hopes that Quaranteam will continue to be successful. 

“If everybody gives a little bit, we can help our restaurants and help feed more people which is great,” said Becky Marmes, a member of the Spokane Quranteam and Ries’s assistant. 

Marmes said she helps run the Facebook page for Whitman County Quaranteam. She posts various updates and information about upcoming events for the group. 

Over 300 members have joined the group, and it is still growing, Ries said.