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Fit Code Gym Launches Online Challenge To Benefit Struggling Businesses Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

CHICAGO (CBS) -- During the coronavirus pandemic, many Chicagoans are stepping up.

CBS 2's Jermont Terry on Tuesday showed us how one fitness chain is helping small business with every bead of sweat dropped.

A quick stroll down the street in Mokena and it was clear – people have been following the stay-at-home orders. Parking lots are empty, and business after business is shuttered.

The financial burden of the COVID-19 pandemic is as heavy as the weights that sit inside the local Fit Code gym.

"I think online is where it's at," said Fit Code owner Shelton Matsey. "People can't get to the gym."

So the area fitness center has brought the workout to members. Three times a day, six days a week, Matsey and his team motivate the community to "bring it."

"That's the place to be, to be online," Matsey said.

Every sweat dropped is an effort to sustain the community.

"Amongst all the negativity, if you have a little sense of positivity and it can hopefully build upon itself," Matsey said.

When non-essential businesses were ordered to close, including Fit Code's four locations, the gym chain took a hit.

"We've had clients drop their membership, as well as put their memberships on hold," Matsey said.

But Matsey didn't think about himself – he looked to see how he could help. Fit Code started the Stronger Than You Community Challenge, where people donate $10 or more for online fitness training.

"Seventy percent of that, we're giving to small business in the community that's been negatively affected like we have," Matsey said.

Those working out will get a gift card to use that the business. In just two weeks, more than $10,000 have been raised – money that businesses can use to stay afloat.

"Paying rent, paying the bills," Matsey said.

He said the generosity from the online team in these classes astonishes him.

"Literally every day, I almost have a tear come to my eye from someone who's being so generous, not so much in terms of what they're donating, but saying, 'You don't have to give me a gift card back, give this back to someone else," Matsey said.

Fit Code hopes to help 15 neighborhood business near it locations in Mokena, the Midway Airport area, Dyer, and Beverly. The challenge runs through Sunday.

If you want to get on board, click here.

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