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Business owner supported by community after fire, helps others affected by COVID-19 outbreak

SAN ANTONIO – A woman who lost her company’s building to a raging fire four weeks ago said the generosity of the community helped her business bounce back fast.

The COVID-19 outbreak has inspired her to pay the generosity forward.

“(It was) seeing my friends, like left and right, losing their businesses overnight,” said Magaly Chocano, owner and CEO of SWEB, a web and app development company.

Chocano started an initiative “In This Together” that sells T-shirts and stickers, with the proceeds helping small businesses. Sales exceeded $22,000 in just over a week.

“We’re buying bulk gift cards from restaurants, food and beverage places. And then those are going to nonprofits and those nonprofits are distributing to their families in needs," Chocano said,

First responders and health care workers on the front lines of the Coronavirus outbreak are also receiving gift cards.

One of the places where Chocano purchased gift cards was South Alamo Panini and Gelato.

Co-owner Diletta Gallorini said the gift card purchase allowed her to pay employees, building rent and a loan.

“Magaly called me and said, 'I need to buy gift cards from you.’ I’m like, ‘OK, how many? Like what?’ ‘I have $1,300 to spend’” Gallorini said.

Gallorini, who has owned her business for six years, decided to pay it forward.

“We actually decide to donate 1,500 gift cards,” Gallorini said.

For more information on how to keep the movement going, visit inthistogethersa.com.

COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the new virus, stands for coronavirus disease 2019. The disease first appeared in late 2019 in Wuhan, China, but spread around the world in early 2020, causing the World Health Organization to declare a pandemic in March.

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