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Locals issue challenge to raise funds for COVID assistance

SARANAC LAKE — Hardware stores are some of the most essential of businesses, as anyone who’s ever tried living without a hammer and nails — much less a snow shovel — can attest. Now a local hardware store is adding COVID-19 aid to its services.

Coakley Home and Hardware and the Rotary Club of Saranac Lake are each offering $500 in matching grants for donations made to the Adirondack Health Foundation’s COVID-19 Response Fund. The $1,000 matching challenge runs through the end of July.

Coakley’s owner Bill Coakley wanted to give back to the community that has long supported his store here, and he thought Adirondack Health’s wide service area matched that of his store, explained Hannah Hanford, director of the Adirondack Health Foundation as well as past president of the Rotary Club. Coakley also owns a hardware store in Canton.

“The Rotary Club board felt like supporting the COVID Response Fund would touch everyone in the community and recognize the work that health care workers have been doing the last few months during extraordinary times,” Hanford said.

“I think there’s a sense that the danger has passed,” said Coakley’s Saranac Lake Store Manager Brittany Sternberg. “But I think that it’ll be a long time before we’re caught up, and this fund will help get the hospital up to full speed.”

The hardware store has been operating near full speed itself as folks stayed home in the wake of the pandemic.

“People need to buy paint,” said Sternberg.

Funds raised will help pay for hospital equipment related to COVID-19, ongoing testing expenses and the additional staff needed for that testing.

“To see donations come in now, when so many people are hurting, is really meaningful,” said Matt Scollin, director of communications at Adirondack Health.

Donations can be dropped off at Coakley Home and Hardware at 622 Lake Flower Ave., via text at “c-19” to “44-321” or mailed directly to Adirondack Health Foundation, P.O. Box 120, Saranac Lake, NY 12983.

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