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Pay It Forward: A Two-Fold Way to Help

From choosing to eat out—and opting to donate an extra meal while you’re at it—you can support local restaurants and health care heroes at the same time.

BY April 8, 2020
Buy yourself a croissant and one for a nurse, courtesy of Bakery E.

Local restaurants are hurting—make that, bleeding—from the COVID pandemic. Not only are their dining rooms shuttered, putting servers out of work, but the seasonal nature of our economy means they’re losing precious revenue at a critical juncture.

That being said, many are trying to make lemonade from of this big sour lemon of a situation.

Altruism comes naturally to those in the hospitality industry, and many places have started to give their customers the opportunity to buy food not just for themselves but for first responders as well. The way it works is that when you call in a takeout order, you can elect to place a second order that they’ll donate for you to those on the frontline of the corona crisis. Eateries and bars with this “pay it forward” set up include: LadyCakes in Cape Coral, the brand new Bakery E by the Brendel family at the Hotel Escalante in Naples (think: fresh organic sourdough loaves, exquisite French pastries, quiches, sandwiches, cookies and more), LowBrow Pizza and Beer and Industry Pizza & Slice Shop in Naples, Millennial Brewing Co. in Fort Myers and four restaurants at the Bell Tower Shops in Fort Myers (Blue Pointe Oyster Bar & Seafood Grille, Grimaldi’s Coal Brick-Oven Pizzeria, DaRuMa Japanese Steak House & Sushi Lounge and T.G.I. Friday’s).

Another two-fold way to help is by participating in a grassroots effort, like the #mcgivesback initiative started by Marissa Collections’ owner Jay Hartington. He had the idea to partner with Tony Ridgway of Tony’s Off Third, and Hartington purchased more than 200 meals to be donated to the NCH emergency room staff. The Naples Area Board of Realtors (NABOR) has made a similar large-scale donation that is ongoing: They’ve teamed up with five restaurants (Sophia’s Ristorante Italiano, Larry’s Lunchbox, Boston Beer Garden, Noodles Italian Cafe & Sushi Bar and Rusty’s Raw Bar & Grill), and any time a first responder or front-line healthcare professional presents their badge when picking up a takeout order, a $20 credit will is applied to their bill. To organize your own such relief effort, contact NCH’s Paula DiGrigoli to help coordinate the logistics—or reach out to any area hospital.

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