WAUNAKEE (WKOW) -- Waunakee High School student Anne Dotzler competes in a variety of sports and clubs. She is very aware of the role local businesses have played in her life.
"The local businesses provide all of the funding for jerseys, our posters and then food."
With that in mind, the leaders of several local school booster clubs decided it was time to give back to those who had given so much.
"All 24 boosters came together and made a donation," explains booster Tara Swalve. "They dug deep into their programs to see what they could forgo this upcoming season."
The 'Rally Around Waunakee' initiative was sparked by the $65,000 donation from those booster clubs to help local businesses. The money is being used for grants or to purchase gift cards that the businesses can use to draw in customers.
"When I heard Joan and Tara had done this, it goes beyond emotions," Sandy Taylor of Waunakee Furniture ETC marveled.
Many of the local business owners had contributed to school programs for years but never expected anything like this in return.
"I was just flabbergasted at how they're bringing the community together, getting everybody involved," says Rex Endres of Rex's Innkeeper. "For the sports people and the community to really rally around us, it's just awesome."
The group has also formed a GoFundMe in hopes of raising another $65,000.
"It's needed and it's wonderful and it brings me to tears when I think about it, to be honest," remarks Kevin Abercrombie of The Lone Girl Brewing Company.
Some of the businesses in Waunakee are currently empty. However, this initiative has shown all of the owners they are not alone.
"We're all in this together," says Kelcey Kinzel of Boston's Restaurant & Sports Bar. "It's the 'Waunakee Strong', in it together, supporting each other. It is emotional, for sure."
As of Tuesday afternoon, 54 businesses had signed up for the program.
Information about the GoFundMe campaign can be found here: https://www.gofundme.com/f/rallyaroundwaunakee?fbclid=IwAR1SnPBpN2rafuACIuYbhViBpIWsT08Qf1GJlZLPbZ_5Z_pGotz6VBVAKpU