2019 novel coronavirus, a.k.a. COVID-19 (COrona VIrus Disease 2019). It’s all-consuming. Even if you are not infected, you are affected. We all are.

In our lifetimes, this is uncharted territory for our country, much less our new city. Maricopa was the poster child for the bust that was the mortgage-lending-induced Great Recession – after being the poster child of the preceding boom. But even then, kids studied at school, cars crowded State Route 347 and customers shopped in businesses.

In the early 2000s I contemplated the type of business to start in the then town of Maricopa. First choice was self-storage, but then Maricopa Self Storage started construction. Second choice was tool and equipment rental, but then it dawned on me I knew nothing about small-engine repair. So, I went with Door No. 3 and started an (online) newspaper. In hindsight, when it comes to having an impact on the community, I could not have made a better choice.

Since we launched in 2004, we have had the honor of helping hundreds of businesses and educating tens of thousands of people. Our large audience and ability to reach them almost immediately yields a unique opportunity to contribute to our community in ways other businesses cannot.

In some arenas, we call that a competitive advantage. In others, a moral obligation. It is in the spirit of the latter we embrace the opportunity to help our community through this crisis.

As you might expect, we are all-in providing as much local COVID-19 coverage our resources – and social-distancing regulations – allow. However, we’ve stepped outside our proverbial box to help in other ways, such as establishing a mini pantry to provide food, water, toilet paper and other necessities to those in need, and purchasing thousands of masks to keep our Maricopa neighbors safe.

In preparation of what we’ve dubbed the Maricopa Comeback, we are directly aiding local businesses by giving away marketing services:

· Free magazine ads.

· Free employment ads for our advertising clients.

· Free listings on our soon-to-be enhanced business directory.

· Free sponsorships for our Best Mom/Dad contests.

We cannot do it alone, however. We need your help.

The Local Media Association and its 501(c)3 foundation established a program to help independent and family-owned news organizations, like InMaricopa, in what was already a fragile industry prior to the pandemic. It allows you to make a tax-deductible donation in support of our coverage of COVID-19 issues in our community.

In our 16 years serving you, we have never asked our readers for a penny. But COVID-19 is too impactful and too important, and we want to provide you the best coverage possible. All seven of our full-time staff members are Maricopa residents, and we are fully committed to keeping them employed and serving you.

There is a lot of uncertainty. We don’t know if the pandemic and its impact will last months or years. We don’t know if the worst is behind us or ahead. Whatever the future holds, rest assured we will do everything we can to ensure a Maricopa Comeback for the ages.

Thank you for your readership, and thank you for helping us help our community. Please visit InMaricopa.com/LocalCoverage.

To continue to grow our local coverage of COVID-19’s impact on Maricopa in the difficult weeks to come while continuing our day-to-day newsgathering, we are partnering with the Local Media Association’s foundation to ask our readers to help with a tax-deductible donation at InMaricopa.com/LocalCoverage.