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VIDEO: Glenn Beck surprises business owners hurt by COVID lockdowns after GoFundMe raises more than $250K



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A fundraiser set up by BlazeTV host Glenn Beck to support small businesses hurt by the coronavirus pandemic raised more than $250,000 since its launch last month — and on Friday, Beck surprised them with amazing gifts.

"We launched a GoFundMe in December to fight for a few small businesses abandoned by government during Covid-19 lockdowns," Beck said in a post on Twitter. "Today we surprised 3 owners with your generous giving. Here are their stories."

The first recipient, Catherine Hill, is the owner of Miss Kitty's Lounge, a neighborhood bar in Clovis, California. After making her rent payment on time every month since her bar opened in 2013, Hill fell on harder times once the pandemic struck and her bar was shut down by executive order. On top of that, she had been diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer — now stage 4. Without income due to the lockdowns and the costs of chemotherapy and other medical treatment, Hill was unable to make rent payments for the first time. Her landlords decided to take her to court and are threatening to take away her business and everything else, including life insurance for her kids.

However, when presented with the monetary gift, Hill decided not to save her business but rather to redirect the funds to a charity that specializes in stage 4 cancer research, METAvivor.

Small business owners fighting for survival get MASSIVE surprise from Glenn Beck audience

The second recipient, Joe Crowley, owns Breakaway, a community building 20 miles north of Boston which plays host to local and national bands. But after the pandemic led to shutdowns in Massachusetts, Crowley's business was forced to temporarily close down. Adding to the stress of trying to survive the pandemic, last September, Crowley suffered a massive heart attack.

The third recipient, Dave Foldes, is a co-owner of Cronies Sports Grill in California. Foldes became a target of the state government last month when he refused to close down and lay off his employees during the Christmas season despite government orders to do so. Since then, Foldes has been fined $500 a day and now owes the state more than $20,000 for refusing to abide by the lockdown restrictions. In December, Foldes assured Beck that his defiance isn't a political statement, rather he just wants his employees to be able to earn a living and doesn't intend to break his commitment to them.

Then Beck spoke about one additional beneficiary of the fundraiser: A 39-year-old mother of two who tragically took her own life in October after coronavirus restrictions forced her business, Boat Barn Bagels in Cañon City, Colorado, to shut down. The woman's mother said her daughter was a casualty of COVID-19. Now, money from the fundraiser is going to help cover the family's debt.

In an address to the City Council following her daughter's death, the mother pleaded with her community to help small business and business owners struggling to stay afloat.

"She tried to do it, but she couldn't do it and she killed herself," the mother said. "She was strong, she was smart, she was developing the business mind and doing well. I just feel like dollars are more important than just about anything, and then testing so that when the community freaks out, [business owners] can test themselves and their employees."

TheBlaze has refrained from publishing the business owner's name out of respect to her family.

In addition to the selfless giving from so many listeners, Beck also donated proceeds collected last month from to help small business owners.

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