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WE’RE IN THIS TOGETHER: Uplifting Community Stories During COVID-19

Over the past few months, it’s been easy to become overwhelmed and disheartened by the daily news cycle. Despite the uncertainty and fear, there has been no shortage of kind acts and displays of community resilience in support of those in need during this crisis. Here are just a few examples of communities from around the world rallying together over the past few months to serve as a reminder that we will get through this together!

THE BEACHES OF FORT MYERS & SANIBEL

Wicked Dolphin Rum Distillery in Cape Coral teamed up with Florida Crystals, Fort Myers Brewing and Big Blue Brewing early on in the pandemic in an effort to meet the need for hand sanitizer for first responders and the local healthcare system. They were not only able to meet their goal for first responders, but they were left with a surplus which they were able to donate to the community. In May, community members were invited to stop by the Wicked Dolphin Distillery to pick up free hand and surface sanitizer. Volunteers handed out thousands of bottles, limited to four per person, free of charge.

Many Crystal River businesses rallied behind their community during the early days of the lockdown. Forced to close its doors, Cody’s Original Roadhouse owner Franck Maigne decided to help out local families who had lost jobs due to the coronavirus crisis by graciously providing 300 free dinners to those in need. The response was so overwhelming that the restaurant did it again the following weekend.

Similarly, Eric Ducharme, owner of the Crystal River’s Mertailor, which is known for its elaborate mermaid tail designs, was able to keep his staff employed by creating protective face masks for healthcare workers. Since shifting to mask-making, the shop has produced an estimated 350 masks every day.

EXPERIENCE KISSIMMEE

Kissimmee Cares, the charitable arm of Experience Kissimmee, used its platform to become a resource for local businesses that need assistance during the pandemic. The website also provided a list of virtual volunteer opportunities so that community members could easily find ways to support frontline workers without having to leave their homes. Volunteer opportunities include sewing masks, putting together hygiene kits containing soap and hand sanitizer and even sending simple thank you messages to healthcare workers.

MASSACHUSETTS OFFICE OF TOURISMOne of the hardest hit industries by the pandemic has undoubtedly been the restaurant industry. Despite the hardships, in Boston a number of local eats have found ways to give back to frontline workers and the community they serve.

The Ice Cream Smith in Dorchester gave back by providing free ice cream cakes to healthcare workers, while supplies last. Their Instagram account also allowed followers the opportunity to “treat a healthcare worker” at Carney Hospital and they recently sold limited edition t-shirts to raise funds for frontline workers.

Phinista Café in Boston also sent free goodies to healthcare workers in the area. On their Instagram, they offered handcrafted cold brews via direct message and they personally delivered coffee to Boston healthcare workers.

COSTA RICA
Many families around the world are keeping the spirit of travel alive by bringing Costa Rica directly into their homes. The Ashton Family unfortunately had to cancel their vacation to Costa Rica, but that didn’t stop them from enjoying the sights and sounds of the destination in their own creative way. The family transformed a corner of their home into a Costa Rican rainforest complete with greenery, scarlet macaws, rainforest sounds, toucans, jaguars, poison dart frogs, and the Arenal Volcano.

Certainly one positive aspect of the lockdown has been the resurgence of nature. Manatee sightings were captured off the coast of Limon province, due to the decrease of activity from ships and people in the area. It is believed that manatees have not made an appearance in the area for several years.

ST. VINCENT & THE GRENADINES
In April St.Vincent Distillers Ltd, producer of popular local rum products in St. Vincent in the Grenadines including Sunset Very Strong Rum (84.5% alcohol strong to be exact!), pivoted to use their facility to produce hand sanitizer for the nation’s first responders. Another reason to try the local rum punch on your next visit!

Vincentian musician Jamsey P also released a song dedicated to medical front line workers in the country. “Capeless Heroes” is a heartfelt ode to all healthcare workers.

TEXAS
Governor Greg Abbott and the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) have announced $3.6 million in funding for nursing facilities so that they are able to purchase headphones, tablets and webcams in order to connect residents with their loved ones during the pandemic. It is hoped that this program will assist Texans in nursing homes to remain connected to their loved ones while still keeping social distancing measures and protecting the health and safety of vulnerable seniors.

First published at Travel Industry Today

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