By Shawn Raymundo

A San Clemente High School alumnus has recently helped launched a web campaign urging citizens from across the nation to pledge their support for small businesses working to stay open during the coronavirus pandemic.

Mason Delahooke, who graduated from SC High in 2014 and currently works in Seattle for the University of Washington’s athletic department, teamed with fellow UW graduates Aubrey McKenzie and Dominik Gorecki, as well as Washington State University graduate Jarred Mac, to launch Pledge 1200.

The campaign encourages Americans to use whatever funds they can spare from their $1,200 stimulus money the federal government gave out this month and spend it on local eateries and shops that may be struggling to stay afloat and to support employees amid the public health crisis.

“It’s not a donation, it’s a commitment. . . .  Our campaign is all about people thinking about small businesses,” Delahooke said, later emphasizing that “it’s a commitment that wherever you go to spend money, you’re thinking about small businesses and where you can help.”

According to the website, pledge1200.org, nearly $1.1 million has been pledged by individuals in 42 states so far, including those in California.

Delahooke said part of the campaign also consists of pledges encouraging others to shop and eat local, telling family and friends about some of the small businesses from which they’ve been able to purchase products.

Additionally, he said, the campaign will also do its part to get the word out for those small businesses that are open but may not have their own social media channels established.

“We realized that these small businesses weren’t set up to reach out to people; not a lot of these businesses were properly aligned with social media,” he said. “So, we asked them to reach out to us to share their story about how this pandemic has impacted them and how can help.”

Delahooke said the campaign understands that so many Americans are relying on that $1,200 they received under Congress’s economic relief effort known as the CARES Act to purchase necessities.

“So we launched to rally Americans to think about these small businesses to do what they can, whether it’s financial or word of mouth,” he said.

“We are focusing on people who are receiving this stimulus check,” he said. “We want everyone to know that all Americans can rally around this project and support local businesses in some way, shape or form.”

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