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Tampa Bay nonprofits need support to get through coronavirus | Letters
Here’s what readers are saying in Sunday’s letters to the editor.
University of Central Florida defensive tackle Antonio Guerad, Tampa, moves loaded grocery bags to a bin in 2014at the Vinoy Renaissance Resort to benefit the Boys and Girls Club of the Suncoast and the Boys and Girls Club of Tampa Bay.
University of Central Florida defensive tackle Antonio Guerad, Tampa, moves loaded grocery bags to a bin in 2014at the Vinoy Renaissance Resort to benefit the Boys and Girls Club of the Suncoast and the Boys and Girls Club of Tampa Bay.
Published May 25, 2020

Nonprofits need your help

Stimulus package

I have the honor of witnessing the difference people can make in their communities firsthand every day as the president and CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Suncoast. Our kids already face the uncertainty of where their next meal will come from. They already face gaps in educational attainment and achievement. The families we serve already struggle with accessing childcare. You can only imagine how this pandemic heightens those uncertainties.

We recognized that this pandemic was going to have devastating effects throughout the Tampa Bay region and that we as local leaders were uniquely positioned to do all we could to help. It’s why we are providing youths 18 and younger free hot meals Monday thru Friday at six locations in Pinellas County, working with Pinellas County Schools to identify children who are not engaging in online school and providing online tele-tutoring with our certified teachers and youth development professionals.

But that resolve can only get us so far as we face lost revenue and financial instability while demand for our services increases. And we’re not the only nonprofit facing a financial quandary of how we can continue to provide critical services and aid to our community while also keeping our doors open, staff compensated, and resources stocked. Congress is currently considering multiple stimulus packages to help those impacted by this crisis, including laid-off workers, hard-hit industries and low-income Americans. I can’t stress enough the dire support nonprofits such as ours need if we are to not only continue to serve our community but help our nation recover once this is over. It’s not just how we respond to a crisis, it’s how we rebuild following it.

Freddy Williams

The writer is the president and CEO of Boys and Girls Clubs of the Suncoast.

We’re not in this together

The COVID-19 pandemic

As the service industry increasingly relied on takeout and delivery to stay afloat, some restaurants included messages of gratitude and positivity with their food. “We ramen this together,” read a card from Ichicoro in Seminole Heights.
As the service industry increasingly relied on takeout and delivery to stay afloat, some restaurants included messages of gratitude and positivity with their food. “We ramen this together,” read a card from Ichicoro in Seminole Heights. [ GABRIELLE CALISE | Tampa Bay Times ]

Of all the situationally exploitive advertising we are deluged with, nothing bothers me more than the “we’re all in this together” message. Tell that to a senior whose retirement savings have been irreparably devastated. Make that case to someone who has lost their business or job, while others kept theirs. Convince a young person or their parents, whose education has been interrupted or impaired while cohorts, just months ahead on the development ladder, sustained their lead. Go to the food banks, suicide prevention centers, substance abuse interventionists, or doctors and hospitals whose care has been sidetracked and try to sell them. In the fog of COVID-19, one thing is bright light clear. We have never been “all in this together” — not even close.

Pat Byrne, Largo

Traffic should slow down

Bayshore crash: no charges | May 15

People walk, bike and run along Bayshore Boulevard near Rome Avenue an area where a cyclist was killed in a collision with motorcyclists on Saturday while trying to cross in a crosswalk. April 6, 2020 in Tampa.
People walk, bike and run along Bayshore Boulevard near Rome Avenue an area where a cyclist was killed in a collision with motorcyclists on Saturday while trying to cross in a crosswalk. April 6, 2020 in Tampa. [ MARTHA ASENCIO RHINE | Times ]

It’s been more than a month since motorcyclist Justin Winterhalter recklessly ran down a stationary bicyclist, my friend Hal Flowers. Last week, prosecutors announced that charges would not be brought against the two other cyclists seen riding with Winterhalter.

What remains far more troubling is the rampant and ongoing recklessness of drivers and cyclists in our community. Living near the interstate, a night does not pass when I don’t hear the high-pitched whine of cycles racing through the heart of our community.

Tampa Mayor Jane Castor has led a responsible effort to make structural changes where possible to reduce these problems. But the common denominator in most of the traffic fatalities in our community is reckless, selfish and irresponsible behavior on the part of drivers. It’s time to stop blaming our mayor and get about the business of making these behaviors unacceptable, wholly uncool and very costly to these drivers.

Finn Kavanagh, Tampa

Downtown gives back

Nonprofit plans grants for small businesses | May 5

E Cass Street between N. Franklin and N. Tampa.
E Cass Street between N. Franklin and N. Tampa.

As a downtown Tampa business owner, I have seen and experienced firsthand the exciting transformation and growth of our city’s urban core. Unfortunately, I am also experiencing the direct impacts of the coronavirus on many of our community’s independent small businesses, which threatens to undo the progress we have all made in recent years.

The Tampa Downtown Partnership recntly offered an unexpected and very welcome lifeline when they handed out 50 grants to small businesses like mine — Don Me Now. This is money that does not have to be repaid and money that has few restrictions. Because of this grant, we will be able to get back on track sooner rather than later, which will benefit our business, our employees, and the community.

By being part of Tampa’s downtown, we know that we are contributing to the growth, development, and economic recovery of the Channel District. Thanks to the innovative actions of the Downtown Partnership, I know we will get through this difficult time.

Danielle and Graham Evans, Tampa

Two peas in a pod

Hey, Governor: It’s not our fault | Editorial, May 21

President Donald Trump listens as Gov. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., talks about the coronavirus response during a meeting in the Oval Office of the White House, April 28, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
President Donald Trump listens as Gov. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., talks about the coronavirus response during a meeting in the Oval Office of the White House, April 28, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) [ EVAN VUCCI | AP ]

It’s like the proverbial two peas in a pod: President Donald Trump and Gov. Ron DeSantis. They’ve rushed to reopen the country and state without following U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines. They’ve both fired staff deeply involved with the pandemic, but can’t give good reasons and even deny knowing them. They both blame others for what is actually their incompetency, believing falsely that hydroxychloroquine will prevent the disease and that the state unemployment debacle is actually the fault of Florida residents. When questioned by the press about it, they just simply walk away.

David Lubin, Tampa

Wear a mask

Face mask rules can’t cover up their anger | May 20

Seated in his personal lawn chair, Bethel Community Baptist Church member Lorenzo Scott, wears a protective face mask a during a drive-in church service held on Easter Morning on the church's property April 12, 2020.
Seated in his personal lawn chair, Bethel Community Baptist Church member Lorenzo Scott, wears a protective face mask a during a drive-in church service held on Easter Morning on the church's property April 12, 2020. [ BOYZELL HOSEY | Times ]

We all need to do our part to help mitigate coronavirus. Wearing a mask when in public, especially inside, is the most effective thing anyone can do to protect those around them.

Glenn Poskocil, Tampa