It’s a fundraising effort with double the benefit.
The Riverhead Business Improvement District is sponsoring a double-impact fundraiser aimed to assist both hospital workers on the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis and downtown restaurants who are “struggling to stay open amid the nationwide shelter-in-place order.”
It works by people buying gift cards from eateries in downtown Riverhead that are then distributed to employees at Peconic Bay Medical Center.
“The gift card donation will allow all essential staff working all shifts and departments at the hospital campus to obtain take-out meals for their families from participating Riverhead restaurants,” a press release from the BID said.
The effort is being organized by BID president Steven Shauger, executive director Kristy Verity, PBMC’s special gift officer Darrien Garay and PBMC’s director of development, Maureen Brady-Curzio.
“We are all in this together. This program is an opportunity for our community to make a positive impact on both health care workers and downtown restaurants that are being heavily impacted by this pandemic,” Mr. Shauger said in a statement. “Things will eventually get better, and donations to this cause will support our heroic health care workers and also help the restaurants we all know and love to weather the storm and be there when the dust settles.”
Public donations are being sought to fund the meal program. The BID said 100% of donations go directly to local restaurants feeding the front line workers. The program has been set up directly through Northwell Health so there are no processing fees by for-profit online donation companies. Advertising and promotion fees are sponsored by the Riverhead BID.
For every $5,000 raised, the BID will purchase 100 $50 gift cards from various downtown eateries. The gift cards will be distributed through a raffle system and every active employee of the hospital will be included in the raffle.
The Richard and Mary Morrison Foundation has already contributed the first $5,000 to the program. The Foundation also wants to continue to emotionally support essential workers through social media. Participants can go to Facebook, create a thank you video for an essential worker, then use #essentiallove and #thankyoufrontline and tag the Foundation. The Foundation will donate $1 to the gift card program for every video up to $5,000.
“In this historic crisis in America it is imperative to honor, applaud and show our deep appreciation to our front lines heroes and angels. Respectfully we thank you from the bottom of our hearts,” Richard and Mary Morrison said in a statement.
The family and staff of Tuthill-Mangano Funeral Homes in Riverhead has also donated $1,000 toward the campaign.
“The coronavirus has not only impacted everyone socially and financially, it has also displayed the heart and soul of our town,” said Ms. Verity. “We see people caring, sharing, volunteering, donating and supporting. At a time when so much is unknown and so much has been stripped away, humanity has peaked and Riverhead is more united and wholesome than ever.”
Andy Mitchell, president and CEO of PBMC, said: “We are thankful for all those who participate in programs like this to support our health care heroes.”