Virus or not; ‘Burgers stand together

The Sunshine City's community-first spirit shines brighter now more than ever, as businesses band together during the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic. Every 'Burger from major corporate leaders to individual residents is stepping up to ensure St. Pete is supported during this difficult time.

Uplifting Healthcare Heros

While many of us are quarantined at home, thousands of healthcare workers across St. Pete and Pinellas County are risking their lives to keep our friends, family, and community safe from the COVID-19 outbreak. As we’ve seen around the world, they are on the front lines of this fight. 

EDGE Guide, in partnership with St Pete Rising, launched an online fundraiser to help give back to the healthcare workers fighting COVID-19 by providing them with meals from local restaurants. 

Brian Zucker of the urban development news blog, St. Pete Rising delivers lunch to healthcare workers at St. Anthony's Hospital in St. Pete

“The fundraiser not only provides a meal for healthcare workers on the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis, but it also helps local businesses, local restaurants who are offering takeout,” he said.

To date, the initiative has served nearly 2,000 meals. Donate here.

Sacino’s, a men’s formalwear company that’s been in the Tampa-St. Pete region since 1916, is having its tailors refocus their efforts to sew masks for hospital workers and FEMA.

Perhaps most encouraging, every night, around 8pm, St. Pete residents are taking to their patios, porches, and balconies to applaud the efforts and work of first responders and healthcare providers in the Sunshine City.

Some residents are even hosting dueling piano concerts from their porches.

Manufacturers Shift Priorities

St. Petersburg Distillery manufactured and freely distributed 100,000 units of 1.7 oz FDA approved formula for hand sanitizer.

Similarly, 3 Daughters Brewing, one of the largest independently owned breweries in the state of Florida has made several rounds of 4-ounce bottles of hand sanitizer that they have made available to patrons of the brewery in St. Petersburg for free.

“We wanted to look for a way our large brewing capacity could help the community” said Mike Harting, Owner of 3 Daughters Brewing. “We are all in this together and this is an opportunity to give back to people who may not have been able to find it in stores.”

St. Pete specialized manufacturer of aerospace parts and medical instruments, SS White is tapping its design and production expertise to make cloth masks for its own workers and their families, for local medical organizations and for employees of other manufacturers.

Small Business Support

To provide relief to small businesses impacted by local COVID-19 safer-at-home orders, the City of St. Petersburg has created the Fighting Chance Fund – an emergency grant for St. Pete’s negatively impacted locally owned and independently operated small businesses.

The fund is expected to provide critical support to about 1,000 restaurant, bar, retail, and service-based businesses and their more than 3,000 eligible employees. The City's goal is to help offset the significant, temporary loss of revenue during this global pandemic.

More information about the Fighting Chance Fund can be found here.

The One Community Plan team at Pinellas County Urban League has launched three micro-grant programs as part of the #InThisTogether COVID-19 Recovery & Resilience Initiative.

The first program, #PayItForward St. Pete was launched in late March to support entrepreneurs in the beauty industry that were impacted by the restrictions imposed as a result of COVID-19. One Community aims to finalize micro-grants with 25 barbers and stylists.

The second #StrongerTogether micro-grant program will support at least twenty $1,500 micro-grants to business owners in South St. Petersburg. One Community Plan's third program, #4StPete Creatives supports creative entrepreneurs including graphic designers, painters, and digital artists, among other creatives who were impacted by the restrictions of COVID-19.

To learn more or to apply for #StrongerTogether, visit One Community Plan's website. To donate to #InThisTogether, visit The 2020 Fund at the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay.

Clear and effective communication is more important than ever. The Tampa-St. Pete-based communications and public relations firm, Tucker Hall has assembled an up-to-date guide to communicating during the COVID-19 crisis. Access the guide here

Creative Pinellas, the Arts Alliance of St. Petersburg and the Pinellas Community Foundation launched the Pinellas Arts Community Relief Fund to provide some relief for working artists, gallery owners, theaters and museums that have been affected not just by COVID-19 mitigation efforts, but the recession that is likely to follow.

Local printing company, Bayprint and Image 360 is offering free "We Are Open" signage and social distancing floor graphics to local businesses.

Local Restaurant Love

Modern Business Associates, The Greater St. Petersburg Area Economic Development Corporation (EDC), and the St. Petersburg Chamber are among several community organizations asking the public to join them in support of St. Pete’s local restaurants by placing bulk carry out orders to support St. Pete’s small businesses as they work to overcome the current COVID-19 circumstances that limit their ability to operate. Spearheaded by St. Pete resident Brady Diggs, who works for St. Pete-based employer Modern Business Associates, the #CarryOutStPete movement intends to provide some financial relief for the local restaurant industry.

“We want local restaurants and hospitality groups -the same ones who have sponsored our fundraising events and our t-ball teams- to know that we support them,” Diggs said. “It is our duty as business leaders to come to their aid when they need us most.”

In spite of the myriad challenges, local restaurateurs and business owners have worked tirelessly to protect their employees, serve their customers, and provide a brief respite from the difficulties we are all facing today. One of the most well known chefs in the Sunshine City, David Benstock, has pivoted his current restaurants to meet the needs of now.

Greenstock restaurant, along with Boyd Construction, Il RitornoHype Group alongside Taylor & Fulton Packing House, donated nearly 400 pounds of tomatoes to the St. Petersburg Free Clinic. Greenstock has even begun offering special produce bags featuring local fruits and veggies for delivery. The fresh salad concept is one that he launched with Benstock's wife, Erica, Pete and Brooke Boyd.

The Burg Diner, located at 2950 49th Street North in St. Pete is offering free pancakes every Wednesday and Thursday from 9 am- 12 pm to offer some comfort to those who may be in need of a "Good breakfast."

Corporate Leadership

To help residential and business customers now, Duke Energy Florida is helping to reduce customer bills by nearly 21% in May during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Raymond James has donated $1.5 million to organizations in need including Feeding America, St. Petersburg Free Clinic and Metropolitan Ministries, among others. President and CEO of Raymond James Tash Elwyn went so far as to even personally cook and deliver pizzas and wine to neighbors and those in need.

Tash Elwyn, President and CEO of Raymond James & Associates Photos courtesy of Elwyn's LinkedIn page

The St. Petersburg-based software engineering company, NIX is connecting the St. Pete community with resources and support during the COVID-19 outbreak by connecting volunteers and nonprofits with those in need through its portal, St. Pete Together.  Either you’re a doctor who needs a babysitter for your kids, or an elderly person who cannot leave the house, or you need a consultation from a lawyer, you can go to the website - - and find a volunteer who can provide you with the assistance you need. 

Maintaining our Sanity

COVID-19 is impacting individuals in countless ways and threatens not just our physical health, but our emotional wellness.

The City of St. Petersburg recognized this need and launched, Call from City Hall to check in on those individuals suffering from adverse effects of self-isolation. Nominated individuals will receive a personal phone call from Mayor Rick Kriseman, Deputy Mayor Kanika Tomalin or Police Chief Anthony Holloway. Complete the form to participate here.

 St. Pete's TAO Connect, a digital platform designed to make behavioral health therapy more accessible and effective, is offering of a free online help session specific to COVID-19, in addition to opening up its entire suite of mindfulness meditation exercises to the public. Both programs are free and accessible on TAO Connect's website. 

St. Pete Creative Studio Wax & Hive is offering "Be Kind" and "We're in this together" yard signage to encourage residents during the pandemic. Order here.

For more resources related to COVID-19, visit our dedicated resource page here. 


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