BUTTE COUNTY, Calif. - An off-field MVP performance by hometown hero, Aaron Rodgers is giving dozens of local businesses some much-needed hope and help in dealing with the pandemic.
The owners of Great Harvest Bread Co. in Chico got a surprise call from the NFL superstar and homegrown hero.
Julie Kampfen and her sister Jamie thought they were meeting with the North Valley Community Foundation over a Zoom call to get an update on their application but they received a big surprise when Aaron Rodgers popped up on their screen.
"I physically felt the gratitude over Zoom while talking to him," said Kampfen. "I wanna laugh, I wanna cry, I wanna cheer."
"It's something I think about every night when I go to bed and every morning when I wake up, how am I going pay these bills, how am I going make payroll? Are we going to have customers today?," she said.
“Great Harvest Bread has been a part of the community for a long time, and you are third-generation business owners in the community which is so important,” said Rodgers, during the Zoom call.
He notified nine of the business owners himself along with North Valley Community Foundation President and CEO Alexa Henson-Valavanis over video calls.
Kampfen said they have about 30 employees for their three Chico locations and one of their biggest goals during the pandemic was to not have to lay anyone off. So far they have been able to achieve that.
"Just a huge sense of relief to know maybe we don't have to wake up tomorrow and wonder if we're going to have to shut our doors," said Kampfen.
A total of 80 Butte County businesses will be getting aid from the fund. Rodgers' grant will total to be more than $1 million for the businesses.
The fund was originally planned to be $500,000 from Rodgers but he decided to increase his donation after seeing local businesses need the help.
The restaurants and retail businesses can use the money to help cover rent and/or other operational costs.