Finding Helpers: Connecting a community through social media

CHENEY, Wash. — With restrictions on restaurants and resources, there are many businesses fighting for their livelihoods right now. They want to stay open and continue serving the community. One woman wanted to be their voice. She took to social media and created Untapped Cheney.

“I modify and update by the hour, essentially. When I know or have more information, I immediately just go and edit the post,” said Kahla Ableman, creator of Untapped Cheney.

Untapped Cheney is a Facebook page that’s hotspot for knowing what’s open and what’s available right now in the West Plains.

“The list was created just for anything and everything Iuld think of in regards to the COVID-19 virus and how it affects our community,” Ableman said.

The page provides everything from contacts to listing what items are still in stock. It’ll also tell you the status of local businesses that are trying to survive during this time.

“It is this weird, interesting time dealing with being able to need to social distance. But also, wanting to help your community,” Ableman said.

Ableman said this is her way of helping local businesses, but still keeping herself safe.

“She’s just like how do we celebrate them and how do we support them. Untapped Cheney has just been a great resource, especially right now with the crazy virus and everything,” said Andy Labolle, owner of West Plains Roasters.

West Plains Roasters, has had to ditch their cafe coffee vibe for a quick pick-up style coffee service. But they said businesses is good, thanks to word of mouth and people like Ableman getting the ball rolling.

“People who would’ve never even taken the time are rallying like never before. Or people who didn’t even know what support local really was about are now taking on that crusade of like, ‘support local’ and making a time and energy to go and do that,” Labolle said.

If you want to help Ableman on her journey in supporting the community, she said you can support local. Try ordering takeout.

If you’re in Cheney, get on social media and use the hashtag, #SupportCheney to let the community know these businesses are here, they’re open, and they’re ready for you.