Nearly every business, community organization and household in the nation is affected in some way by COVID-19. This is like nothing else most of us have ever experienced, but as we navigate through this health crisis I’m overwhelmed by the determination and creativity of our business owners, and the acts of kindness and support of our residents.

There are many great stories such as how the Oak Park Moms group raised money to buy meals from local restaurants to feed first responders. Acts of kindness are happening in every community…but what set’s Forest Park apart is our teamwork, our resiliency and our heart.  

We don’t always agree on everything. One look at Facebook makes that apparent. But that’s OK. Then, something bigger than all of us comes along, the switch gets flipped and Forest Park’s heart shines like a beacon hope. 

Concerns for their own wellbeing hasn’t stopped local businesses from giving to others. Residents are volunteering and offering up extra supplies to their neighbors. Village officials are there to listen to the needs of the residents and business community and to do whatever they can to help.

Here at the Chamber, our focus and scope of work changed on a dime. Promoting, supporting and informing our members and the business community moved to the top of the list. Don’t get me wrong — that work has always been top priority but there are other things the Chamber does such as executing plans for the events like the parade and holiday walk that drive traffic and keep Forest Park’s name at the forefront.

One of our initiatives was a Shop Small campaign. We printed signs for the doors of businesses inviting people to ‘Come In, We’re Small’ or ‘Come In, We’re Tasty’ as well as ‘We Support Shop Small’ yard signs that some folks have proudly displayed in front of their house. The call to support small business is especially vital now and will be more important than ever in the coming weeks and months.

Small businesses are a vital part of the community and a key component of Forest Park’s small town charm.  The rest is about you. Our residents. Our library and park district. Our village and the amazing services they provide. 

So continue showing love to our local businesses. Keep promoting them. Spread the word about our amazing community and stay well. As for the Chamber, we’re here for you and we’ll be here to do what we can to help you recover. We want everyone to succeed. 

Forest Park is resilient because we’re committed to helping one another and to staying connected through the belief that we’re all in this together.

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