Smithfield Small Business Bolt gives back to local businesses

Smithfield Small Business Bolt gives back to local businesses

SMITHFIELD – After enjoying success with fundraisers for the Old County Road Elementary School playground, two Smithfield women have partnered up to help local small businesses during the pandemic.

Rema Tomka and Jill Fontaine said the inspiration for the Smithfield Small Business Bolt came from Keene, New Hampshire, where a similar fundraiser was held.

Fontaine said she was inspired to help local businesses when thinking about their efforts fundraising for the playground, PTA events, and recreational sports. She said local small businesses are always the first to offer support whenever youth sports or students need help.

“I don’t think people realize how important they are and how much support they give the community,” Fontaine said.

When fundraisers need raffle items, gift certificates or money, small businesses are always there, they said.

Tomka said there are more than 1,000 registered businesses in Smithfield, and many are in trouble due to closures related to the coronavirus.

“It’s a way to give back to them because they’ve given so much to the community,” Fontaine said.

Fontaine said she wants people to think about what the town will look like on the other side of the pandemic.

“It’s up to us to help them through this because once they’re gone, they’re gone,” she said. “They’ve supported us and made our fundraisers successful.”

By submitting a receipt to the contest with a minimum purchase of $20 from a local Smithfield business, participants will be given a printable bib number for a planned 5K. Contestants have until May 31 to complete their own 5K, and submit times by email or to the Facebook event page with the hashtag #SSBB2020.

“You run it virtually. We say run, jump, bike, swim, or climb. We don’t care,” Tomka said.

She said the physical aspect was added to the fundraiser because it made the event more fun. She said people can support local businesses while getting outdoors and being active.

Participants who complete the 5K will be entered to win $250. The contest runs now through May 31.

Submit receipts to

Since beginning on May 8, the Smithfield Small Business Bolt has raised $2,800. The Bolt is also accepting monetary donations to be given directly to businesses. Checks can be sent to Smithfield Small Business Bolt, 11 Domin Ave., Smithfield, RI, 02917.

“Generally, people love the idea. I’m happy a lot with the submissions so far. I’m getting a lot of support from the community,” Tomka said.