The Riverhead Business Improvement District [Riverhead BID] is sponsoring a new double-impact fundraiser to help hospital workers fighting on the frontline of the coronavirus / COVID-19 crisis, and to support downtown restaurants that are struggling to stay in business during the nationwide shelter-in place order. The solution for assisting both hospital workers and restaurants comes in the form of gift cards.
Riverhead BID’s plan asks donors to help buy gift cards from eateries in downtown Riverhead. The cards will then be distributed to employees at Peconic Bay Medical Center (PBMC), Northwell Health. Each donation will feed essential staff working all shifts and departments at the hospital campus, allowing them to get takeout meals for their families from participating Downtown Riverhead restaurants.
Gift cards will be purchased for: The Preston House, Jerry and the Mermaid, Michelangelo, Goldberg’s Bagels, Taqueria Cielito Lindo, Shadees Jamaican Takeout, Sunny’s Diner & Grill, Diggers Ales n’ Eats, Dark Horse Restaurant, Cucina 25, River Walk Bar & Grille, PeraBell Food Bar, Tweeds Restaurant & Buffalo Bar, Cliff’s Rendezvous, Star Confectionary, and Taco Bout It.
The effort is being organized by Riverhead BID President Steven Shauger and Executive Director Kristy Verity, along with PBMC Special Gift Officer Darrien Garay and PBMC 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 healthcare workers and downtown restaurants that are being heavily impacted by this pandemic,” Shauger says in a statement about Riverhead BID’s efforts, adding, “Things will eventually get better, and donations to this cause will support our heroic healthcare workers and also help the restaurants we all know and love to weather the storm and be there when the dust settles.”
The meal program will come from public donations—100% of which go directly to local restaurants feeding frontline workers. Volunteers take no administrative fee and the crowd-funding program has been set up directly through Northwell Health, eliminating processing fees normally collected by for-profit online donation companies. Advertising and promotion fees are sponsored by the Riverhead BID.
With every $5,000 raised, Riverhead BID will purchase one hundred $50 gift cards from various downtown eateries. The gift cards will then be distributed by the medical center through a raffle system, which will include every active employee of the hospital, from ICU to medical records, environmental services and beyond. Gift cards will be mailed home to employees.
“The heroic work being done by the staff at the medical center would not be possible without the generous support from our community,” PBMC President and CEO Andrew Mitchell says. “We are thankful for all those who participate in programs like this to support our healthcare heroes.”
Amplifying the fundraiser, the Richard and Mary Morrison Foundation has already generously contributed the first $5,000 to the program. The Foundation also wants to continue to emotionally support essential workers through social media. Participants can create “thank you” videos for essential workers and post on Facebook using #essentiallove and #thankyoufrontline and tagginbg the Richard & Mary Morrison Foundation. The Foundation will donate a $1 to the gift card program for every video (up to $5,000). Learn more at the Richard & Mary Morrison Foundation Facebook page.
“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 say in the program announcement.
The family and staff of Tuthill-Mangano Funeral Home (406 East Main Street, Riverhead) have donated another $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,” Verity, Riverhead BID’s Executive Director, points out. “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.”
Tax-deductible donations can be made online at northwellcovid.com/team/downtowndouble.