Michele Pierson, owner of Cal Silk, a business based in Gilroy, Calif., is reaping the benefits of her community service from last summer. In July 2019, at the annual Gilroy Garlic Festival, a mass shooting ended the lives of 3 community members and wounded many others. Within 48 hours of the shooting, Pierson opened her business to print thousands of t-shirts with the community’s rallying cry, “#GilroyStrong.” She donated her employees’ labor and made nothing on the t-shirts, just wanting to do something to help heal her community from a devastating loss. Fast forward a year, Pierson’s business was hard-hit by the Covid-19 lockdown and mandatory closure. The customers she has had since re-opening are coming to keep her in business because of her community service in a time of tragedy, helping to avert a personal tragedy for Pierson and her employees.

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