FRIDAY NEWS UPDATE
March 20, 2020
To the Greater Fort Myers Community,

There is no getting around this – this is perhaps one of the most challenging times many of us have dealt with. I wanted to share a few updates and let you know you will be hearing from one of our team members. We are reaching out to our Chamber members as well as others in our community to connect and learn everything we can about your business and operations – this will allow us to share information and respond to what is needed. 

You already know that we created two new website pages to share information. The first page contains COVID19 resources for community and business. The second page was set up to share what the community is doing - to share how our businesses have changed the way they do business as they keep their doors open. This includes restaurants, services, shops and more. You have received emails soliciting for your information and posts on Facebook updating you on what we are doing. The Chamber team is updating information as it is received – either on our website or through social media.

You are seeing so many COVID19 emails – none of us can read them all. I am asking you to stay with us – keep reading ours. We are sharing everything we get in one place for you. We have so much information, our partners at Boost Creative are working on a new site for us – to make it easier to find the material you want, when you want it. We are working with our partners, Lee Health , the SBDC at FGCU , CareerSource SWFL , Lee County Economic Development , and our fellow chambers as we navigate this time.

This will also be a great resource when we come back… and we are coming back! This community is so strong when we unite and work together– taking care of each other both personally and professionally. We have seen this during hurricanes and during the water quality crisis. We are in this together!

I read the phrase below this morning, posted by my friend, John Lai, President & CEO of the Sanibel & Captiva Chamber of Commerce. I saw no reason to change his words as they ring true for me as well:

“This issue is incredibly fluid and I know that we all have more questions than answers. Please know that we are here to help in any way that we can. I am confident that this will pass and that we will overcome. I have seen our community pull together time and again and have full faith that this will make us better, stronger, and more unified. We are truly in this together.”

Please take care of yourselves and your family.

-Colleen
THE CHAMBER IS HERE FOR YOU
The Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce staff continues to closely monitor the reports of COVID-19 in our area and information being shared by various agencies.

Please continue to visit the two new pages on our website that will be continually updated:  


We are also utilizing our Facebook & Instagram pages to share information from our Members on cancellations or schedule changes, as well as any special offers.

If you have an update on your business or something you think is missing from our website, please send an email to Linda@fortmyers.org.
COMMUNITY NEEDS
While COVID-19 is currently changing all of our lives, the most vulnerable in our community are especially affected by business and school closings, and some reduced access to services. If you are able, please consider helping some of our nonprofit partners.
Serving Lee, Hendry & Glades Counties

Current needs:
  • Canned & dry goods for extended pantry/mobile pantry feeding
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Disinfectant Cleaner
  • Latex Gloves
  • Toilet Paper
  • Paper Towels

Items can be dropped off at 2400 Edison Ave. Fort Myers, FL.

As layoffs continue, many more people will be adversely affected by the economic conditions and the Salvation Army will be providing assistance for things like rent, mortgage and utilities. To make a financial contribution visit Donate Salvation Army Fort Myers . If you wish to volunteer with recovery efforts click here or call 239.334.3745.
Serving Harlem Heights, a severely distressed community with kids living in poverty at twice the rate of the rest of Lee County

Current needs:
Monetary donations and/or gift cards to grocery stores for our families. Monetary donations can be made online . Contributions will be used to help families pay their utility and rent while they are out of work. 
Serving Lee County

Community Cooperative is working to safely and responsibly meet the needs of our most vulnerable populations throughout SWFL. At this time, our priority of support and programming is the following.

  • Meals on Wheels– continuing to deliver meals to our home bound seniors with increased safety protocols.

  • Community Café/Soup Kitchen & Fort Myers Beach locations will be serving hot meals in To-Go containers.

  • Community Market Food Pantry will have prepacked grocery bags. Clients will still do paperwork for intake purposes.

  • Mobile Food Pantries are scheduled over the next several weeks. Current schedule and locations can be found here.

Social Services will go to phone only meetings. Distribution of toiletries, mail and other essential services will be available. All Education Classes and FLIP are suspended through April 13th.

Current needs:
  • Peanut Butter
  • Jelly
  • Canned tuna
  • Canned Chicken
  • Mayo
  • Mac & Cheese
  • Cereal
  • Breakfast/Granola/Snack Bars
  • Shelf-Stable Milk

Items can be dropped off at 3429 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd., Fort Myers, FL

Financial contributions to assist with additional emergency food purchases are helpful and can be made here. Volunteers are also needed to help pack emergency food and deliver to Meals on Wheels clients. Call 239.332.SOUP.
URGENT: LEE HEALTH NEEDS BLOOD DONORS
Lee Health has had at least 15 canceled blood drives through their mobile donation bus resulting in a significant loss of at least 300 units of blood in the past week. While the mobile donation bus is on hiatus, blood centers are still accepting donations, and this is a great way for community members to continue to help others during this public health crisis.

All blood donated at Lee Health remains here for use within our community. Giving blood remains safe, and helps save lives in our community. Donors can find the closest blood center by visiting this page .
BUSINESS DAMAGE ASSESSMENT SURVEY
Governor Ron DeSantis announced the activation of the Business Damage Assessment survey to assess the impact of COVID-19 on Florida’s local business operations. The survey, managed by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO), will evaluate businesses affected by COVID-19 and the impacts the virus has had on the local economy so actions to implement appropriate relief programs can begin. 
POSTPONEMENT OF CHAMBER EVENTS
Taking our cue from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines for events, we are postponing Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce events for March and April.

We will be rescheduling these events and providing updates in the next few weeks.

The health and well-being of our community is paramount and we will resume activities when it is considered safe to do so.