Belfast residents and business owners affected by COVID-19 will get a shot at a third round of funding from the city’s Keep the Faith fund. Councilors decided to open the fund to the public again at their Dec. 15 meeting.

The program gives $100 food vouchers to Hanniford or Belfast Co-op to individuals who have experienced a loss of income because of the coronavirus, with $50 extra per child in the household. It gives $500 to small businesses that have experienced a reduction in business because of the coronavirus and do not owe outstanding taxes.

So far $28,900 has been distributed to families in the form of food vouchers and $63,500 has been issued to small businesses, according to City Manager Erin Herbig. The city appropriated $150,000 to the fund when it was created April 15. One hundred twenty have people donated $61,695 to the fund since its development, Herbig said.

Mayor Eric Sanders said some of his business owner friends were afraid of taking advantage of the small business fund after they had reopened, which might be why there were significantly fewer people to apply for business funds during the second round of applications.

Councilor Brenda Bonneville said she, too, has heard business owners express hesitation about reapplying for funds, despite their significant struggles. But she encouraged anyone listening to the City Council meeting that night to apply for funds if they are still struggling with decreased revenues.

City Councilor Paul Dean said there would probably be a fourth and possibly even a fifth round of funding opportunities. He supports using all the funds appropriated to the program for as long as the pandemic continues to affect people financially.

“It’s going to be a long, cold, dark winter, and I could easily see us doing this two more times before we’re out of the woods,” he said.

To make a tax-deductible donation, call 338-3370, extension 131. To apply for the food voucher, visit cityofbelfast.org/groceryvoucher. To apply for the small business voucher, go to cityofbelfast.org/smallbusinessgrant.