NORTHWEST ARKANSAS, (KNWA/KFTA) — Businesses across NWA deal with financial strains caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and churches are no exception.
Churches depend on its members for donations every week but with empty pews and online services, it hasn’t been easy. Like other businesses, churches are also getting the funding it needs from the Cares act to make it through.
According to the Small Business Loan Administration, more than 30,000 loans were approved for the paycheck protection program in the state. That relief totaling nearly 2.8 billion dollars for Arkansas businesses and nonprofits like churches.
The PPP program was designed to encourage businesses to keep their employees on the payroll. 75% of the money has to go towards paying workers wages and salaries to be forgiven.
One of the churches benefiting from PPP is St. Joseph Catholic Church in Fayetteville. Father Jason Tyler said not being able to see his members and hold in-person masses has been tough. It’s also created some financial challenges but thanks to some relief he is able to breathe a little lighter.
“Often similar programs in the past have not included non-profits but when I saw that it would, I went ahead and applied for it. Especially because after the first two weekends that we were without public mass we saw a significant drop in our collection,” said Father Tyler.
Tyler said the church has over a dozen full-time employees and several working part-time and he wanted to make sure they’re being paid during this crisis.
Tyler said his team is keeping records, and following the guidelines of the loan program by using the majority of the funding on the payroll. He hopes like many approved for the program to have the loans forgiven.