Sweet Home Missionary Baptist Church (MBC) was founded in 1952 in an urban community located in Miami, Florida. The church focuses on building up the local community through service initiatives, such as food distribution for the local community, affordable after-school care, and job and housing programs.
At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Sweet Home experienced a significant shift in how it would proceed with its daily operations. Due to safety precautions, the team felt it would be best to switch to a virtual service.
Though Sweet Home was no longer providing public church services, it still had a team working to fulfill its service programs. For example, during the pandemic’s peak, Sweet Home Missionary Baptist Church’s team provided 1,000 meals per week to the local community.
Like many managers Olivia Carey, Executive Pastor at Sweet Home MBC, did not want to lay off any staff members. Pastor Carey’s brother-in-law recommended connecting with Black Business Investment Fund (BBIF).
Once connected to BBIF, Pastor Carey began attending each BBIF COVID-19 Navigation Webinar. She learned that Sweet Home MBC would qualify for a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan through attendance. PPP Loans were issued by the Small Business Administration (SBA) to help small business owners and non-profits have the capital necessary to keep their staff employed.
In the past, Sweet Home MBC applied for loans directly through the SBA. Pastor Carey described the process to be very cumbersome and paper-driven. While working with BBIF, her experience was one of ease. Sweet Home MBC received a PPP Loan in May of 2020. With the funds, they could keep all full-time and part-time employees on the payroll.
“Working with BBIF was a fluid process. They walked me through the application process and answered all my questions. There were no hiccups, it was a seamless process. The support we received from the BBIF enabled us to pivot to virtual services for our congregation and continue to provide social services to the community.”
Olivia Carey, Pastor