The coronavirus pandemic has dramatically changed lives for millions of Americans, including residents of Southwest Florida.
Behind worrisome headlines, though, is a surge of humanity, compassion and generosity sweeping across the region.
Throughout Southwest Florida, neighbors are helping neighbors, businesses are helping nonprofits and individuals are helping total strangers. We all share one goal – overcoming the far-reaching health and economic impacts of COVID-19.
This is a time when great leaders, generous residents and genuine brands step forward. The sole purpose for their good deeds and decisions is the betterment of our community.
Priority Marketing is working diligently to tell clients’ stories of impact and help them reach new audiences. Our partners have fed hungry families and first responders. They have launched fundraisers, collected medical supplies and sewn protective face masks. They have developed new and innovative ways to serve the community, like offering delivery services, curbside pickup, e-commerce sites and virtual webinars.
Those stories might not lead the 11 o’clock news, but our community still wants to see the good in society. That’s why Priority Marketing launched #ShineTheLight, a campaign spotlighting clients whose good deeds deserve to be celebrated!
Check out the series: #ShineTheLight
Businesses large and small are making a difference, like Norman Love Confections offering a sweet reprieve with its Love-To-Go service and also partnering with Crave Pantry to deliver food and household goods to families in need. Matanzas on the Bay is serving carryout orders by car or boat while staff members voluntarily deliver delicious pizzas to firefighters and paramedics. Fort Myers Brewing pivoted to offer curbside pickup and revamped its production line to help Wicked Dolphin produce hand sanitizer, and opened a drive-thru line to drop off donations for Community Cooperative.
Below are examples of clients’ good news stories that have been featured by local media:
‘Real money to real people’
Dan Creighton, CEO of Creighton Construction & Development, is one of Southwest Florida’s most generous business leaders. In January, Dan purchased a condo for a homeless, limbless man who he befriended after a chance encounter, a wonderful act of compassion. In March, the coronavirus’ economic impact hit quickly for those already struggling financially. Dan recognized families needed immediate help. He purchased $5,000 in food from a local restaurant that was impacted by the state’s ban on in-restaurant seating. Then he worked with chefs to prepare 150 hot meals for Fort Myers families. Dan didn’t stop there, distributing $250 in cash directly to 100 families who have been significantly affected.
“I really wanted to hand out real money to real people,” Dan said of his $25,000 gift.
Serving up a win-win in Immokalee
A generous local couple, Debbie and Bill Toler of Bonita Springs, recognized that schools were still distributing food to children on weekdays, but not the weekend. They also were aware that locally owned restaurants were struggling mightily under new social distancing guidelines. So the Tolers connected with Jonesez BBQ to provide 1,000 hot meals to students attending Guadalupe Center, Pathways Early Learning Center and Redlands Migrant Christian Association. The Tolers hoped their gesture would inspire others to do the same. A week later, the Clark Family Foundation stepped forward to provide meals to Guadalupe Center families through Mi Ranchito, an Immokalee restaurant.
Naples Daily News: Immokalee families receive hot meals through Guadalupe Center
Ballpark food a hit with food pantries
Major League Baseball’s decision to abruptly cancel the remainder of spring training sent Minnesota Twins players and fans packing. It also left Hammond Stadium with a full inventory of food – meats, bread, cheese, fruits, vegetables and more – intended to feed 9,300 fans per game for another two weeks. Within 24 hours, the Fort Myers Mighty Mussels, which operate Hammond Stadium, and Twins began donating cases of fresh food to Community Cooperative, Harry Chapin Food Bank and the Salvation Army.
Feeding families when school is out
The School District of Lee County’s primary objective is to nourish the mind through education. It also is the region’s largest restaurant, serving more than 77,000 meals per day. However, when school is not in session, many students do not receive a healthy, nutritious meal. The School District announced it would provide “Grab and Go” bags that included breakfast and lunch for students. The initiative is helpful relief for parents who are struggling financially or running short on items as supermarkets run out of their daily inventory.
MOOmasks for First Responders
State restrictions on restaurants, coupled with city regulations limiting visitors, left The Island Cow with no choice but to temporarily close its popular restaurant. Owners Brian and Elke Podlasek and their daughters started sewing protective face masks for friends who work at Lee Health. From there, the initiative grew into a massive enterprise that has provided more than 2,000 masks to first responders. The Island Cow recently started selling masks to the general public through its website, SanibelIslandCow.com. Proceeds will raise money to purchase materials and supplies to sew additional first responder masks.
Health care on the road
Healthcare Network of Southwest Florida provides quality care to more than 50,000 patients in Collier County, regardless of income or insurance status. A portion of the operation is devoted to infant care. At a time when officials urge social distancing for those with weakened immune systems, many families are keeping their newborns away from busy medical clinics. Instead, Healthcare Network drove its medical bus to Immokalee so the community’s tiniest patients could receive complete vital first-year checkups.
SWFL Stronger Together
It takes a community effort to combat COVID-19, and Lee Health and NCH Healthcare System partnered to form SWFL Stronger Together. The philanthropic campaign will provide critical resources, equipment and supplies to first responders in Southwest Florida. It’s a great way to support the doctors, nurses and medical staff who are keeping us safe now, and in the future.
Cape Coral Breeze: Lee Health, NCH launch ‘SWFL Stronger Together’
Do you have a good news story to share? Contact our PR team today by calling 239-267-2638 or emailing info@PriorityMarketing.com.