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SRQ DAILY May 15, 2020

Friday Weekend Edition

Friday Weekend Edition

"We're living through this unprecedented event and I think it's important to document our experience."

- Susan O'Shea, Ringling Museum Archivist

[Creative Life]  Ringling Museum Archivist Catalogs Life in the Time of COVID-19
Andrew Fabian; andrew.fabian@srqme.com

When disaster strikes, planning for the future decreases in importance as surviving the present consumes us. For many, personal safety, financial security and maybe a dash of cabin fever all contribute to a present-centered awareness. But for Susan O’Shea, the struggles of today are an opportunity to bolster our abilities to cope with disaster in the future—if we can take some steps to help us remember them. “We’re living through this unprecedented event,” she says, “and I think it’s important to document our experience.” As The Ringling’s archivist by day and her own biographer by night, O’Shea has been busy with a home project that sounds old fashioned in today’s age of cloud storage and social media history: assembling a time capsule. In her field of study, few things carry the emotional and temporal heft of physical objects—and with her time capsule, she hopes to memorialize the present to enrich the future.

O’Shea’s days are filled with the fulfillment of research requests, digging through troves of dusty documents and old artwork to offer researchers and the public access to our history. “A lot of the requests I get are actually from descendants of circus performers,” she says. In her ideal world, there would be no shortage of objects and records to help us contextualize the present and plan for the future. “People in the future are gonna want to know how we lived,” she says, particularly when considering the COVID-19 pandemic may not be the last time we find ourselves isolated largely indoors. So, O’Shea has taken to producing a trove of personal artifacts that will allow her to eventually look back on her own experience during this time and reflect. She keeps a journal to capture her thoughts and feelings, cuts newspaper clippings to create snapshots of the virus narrative and takes daily photos to track any changes in her appearance. “All types of personal archiving have value in some way,” she says, “and a time capsule can allow for different mediums to be kept together.”

She adds Tik Tok videos, printouts of memes, flash drives and postcards to her time capsule, but O’Shea has one strong admonition for those interested in documenting their own experiences for posterity: “I wouldn’t bury it!” Contrasting the romanticized act of cramming objects into a sealed container and stuffing it in a hole in the dirt, she recommends keeping time capsules in a temperature-controlled part of the home to reduce the risk of moisture and sun damage. This way, 100 years from now when historians, archivists and great-great-grandchildren dig into the past, they will find a trove of objects awash in the patina of 2020. “I hope that people document this experience,” she says, “so people like me can look back at some point and see how we survived it.” 

Pictured: With craftiness and humor, Susan O’Shea chronicles her life in the time of COVID-19. Photo by Susan O'Shea.

[Giving Back]  Community Foundation of Sarasota County, Donors, Issue Nearly $4.5 Million in Grants in Last Two Months

The Community Foundation of Sarasota County, along with its many donors, have granted nearly $4.5 million in the last two months to support community needs provided by nonprofit partners for immediate, short-term and longer-term responses to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The $4.5 million will help address basic life needs, offer buoying emotional support programs to students and seniors, and improve community quality of life through cultural connections. Of that total, $1.86 million was granted through donor advised funds, an increase of 35% over the same timeframe the previous year, which reflects a larger national trend of increased charitable giving directed by donors via community foundations. 

“Our community’s capacity to heal is measured in our willingness to help one another, which is what this surge in philanthropy represents,” said Roxie Jerde, President and CEO of the Community Foundation of Sarasota County. “The important work being supported through our donors past and present ensure our community remains healthy, resilient, and united.” 

One such giving family, Joe and Mary Kay Henson whose foundation has provided $650,000, noted their family’s partnership with the Community Foundation offered them an opportunity to respond rapidly to immediate needs resulting from the pandemic crisis and it will continue to inform their giving in the weeks and months to come as community needs evolve.

“By far, the most important thing we can do as a community is assist those in need of basic kinds of support,” said Joe Henson. “At the same time, philanthropy has the opportunity to address deep equity and opportunity divides to improve the lives of those facing poverty who have the greatest needs.” 

About the Funds

Notably, Jerde pointed out, these recent grants are in addition to the abundance of giving that resulted in $18.4 million of gifts made to nearly local 700 nonprofit partners during the 24-hour Giving Challenge hosted at the end of April, as well as the more than $2.5 million raised in six weeks in support of the reactivated Season of Sharing, the 20-year-old community-wide partnership that assists individuals and families with rent, mortgage, utilities and childcare. Both these efforts were bolstered by our longtime partner, The Patterson Foundation, which provided generous matching and outright gifts.

COMMUNITY CARE: Health & Hunger

In March and April, there was a surge of giving in response to the area’s increased need for hunger relief and food donations.

The Community Foundation’s Vice President of Community Impact, Kirsten Russell, shared that the funding in this area will be critical to meet unprecedented need by people who have not previously accessed social support programs and services.

Supported organizations providing emergency food relief include All Faiths Food Bank, Feeding Tampa Bay (Manatee County), Harvest House, HOPE for North Port Community Development Corporation, Hungers End, Inc., UnidosNow, and Meals on Wheels PLUS of Manatee, among others.

“It is inspiring to work with so many donors and organizations who are ready to respond to immediate needs, and who are also looking to the future with forward-thinking, creative, and collaborative ideas,” Russell said.

EMPOWERMENT & SUCCESS: Mentoring & Lifelong Connections

Maintaining the motivation to develop a purpose-driven life requires support at all life stages.

Boys Town of Central Florida, which is the state’s major provider of quarantine needs of juveniles related to COVID-19, received funding to assist with these specific operations.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Sun Coast adjusted its outreach model to provide one-to-one mentoring during the pandemic.

Take Stock in Children of Sarasota County received funding to welcome additional rising sixth graders from Alta Vista Elementary into its multi-year program culminating in a Florida prepaid scholarship.

Adults in need of social and emotional support are being assisted through funding for Senior Friendship Centers to augment services in the wake of the coronavirus.

BELONGING & CULTURE: Cultural Development & the Arts

Several cultural organizations adjusted operations during the height of performance season amid the state’s Safer at Home orders. Funds were quickly provided to support program transitions and technology adaptations to reach audiences in new ways to the Sarasota Ballet, Key Chorale, The Hermitage Artist Retreat, and the Venice Symphony.

“The arts are paramount to the quality of life that draws so many to call this area home,” Russell said.

Additional grant updates will be provided monthly as the foundation shares the collaborative results of philanthropic support, Jerde said.

“As a community foundation, we exist first and foremost to serve our community as a trusted partner and inspire hope, especially in times of critical need,” Jerde said. “The future is unknown, and it likely won't be easy in the short-term, but it is up to us to create it. Together.” 

[Partnership]  Goodwill Manasota Donates Food to Our Daily Bread

For years, Goodwill Manasota has placed collection bins at each of its attended donation centers so that community members could donate non-perishable foods for those in need; the food has then been picked up by The Food Bank of Manatee and All Faiths Food Bank. In April, in response to an urgent local need, Goodwill made its first delivery of nearly 2,000 pounds of food to Our Daily Bread, a community-driven food pantry and soup kitchen. Since that first delivery, Goodwill has brought two more, with donated food totaling 5,144 pounds.

This new friendship came about through the partnership of Goodwill and Turning Points, a Bradenton-based organization that provides services aimed at preventing and ending homelessness. Goodwill has a Job Connection office on-site at Turning Points, where hundreds of Turning Points clients have been placed in jobs.

One important service available at Turning Points is lunch. Partner agency Our Daily Bread serves a meal on-site each day. Our Daily Bread also has a self-serve food pantry at Turning Points, where families can select the groceries they need.

The impacts of COVID-19 have been particularly challenging for Our Daily Bread. Requests for assistance have climbed, the costs of serving meals increased due to the need to package meals in “to go” containers, and the organization’s battalion of volunteers has not been available as community members stayed home.

Our Daily Bread president Mark McLaughlin put out calls for help and many local businesses responded - including Goodwill. Donna Evans, Goodwill’s Director of Donation Development who is responsible for coordinating the delivery of food donated at Goodwill - arranged for the deliveries of food to Our Daily Bread.

“We are grateful for the partnership we have developed with Goodwill, who has already made three deliveries of canned goods in the last month to our food pantry, Loaves & Fishes," said McLaughlin. "What a blessing – thank you, Goodwill!” 

Pictured: Leo Ramos of Goodwill (left) with Our Daily Bread president Mark McLaughlin

[Brew Release]  Motorworks Releases Salvador's Wit in Collaboration with the Dali Museum

Brewed in collaboration with the Dali Museum, Motorworks Brewery's exclusive Salvador's Wit 4-packs will be available starting today at noon. A surreally purple Witbier brewed with Spanish Tempranillo grapes. Inspired by Dalí, this brew is packed with personality and offers new perspectives on reality. The label features four designs, each highlighting one of the artist’s masterworks at the Museum. The labels come to life via an Augmented Reality (AR) feature available on The Dalí Museum App. Proceeds beneift the Dali Museum.  

Click for more.

[Crisis Support]  Teen Court of Sarasota Expands Services, Waives Fees for Students and Families Amidst Economic Uncertainty

While youth-serving organizations adjust to changing academic schedules and new challenges, Teen Court of Sarasota is using this time as an opportunity to expand its range of services for students in its pretrial intervention program.

Designed to divert youth out of the criminal justice system, Teen Court provides students who have made bad choices with educational and social development activities. With the effects of the declining economy taking its toll on many in the community, the organization has waived its fees for participants and secured funds to eliminate barriers families are facing during these difficult times.

“Families are stressed enough after learning their child has been on the wrong side of the law,” says Heather Todd, Executive Director of Teen Court. “We want to do everything we can to support the student and their family to ensure that they can focus on rehabilitation. Money should not be the difference between a child turning their life around or them entering the criminal justice system.”

Frequently the needs of youth and their families go well-beyond counseling, classes, and conversation. Helped by a $100,000 grant from Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation, the program will now deliver additional mental health therapy, provide transportation options, and offer food assistance and other vital needs for students and their families. Funds will also subsidize drug testing costs and other expenses for participants.

The program helped more than 563 students not be arrested or expelled from school last year. Only 7% of youth served re-offend, compared to 42% at juvenile court.

“Teen Court is instrumental in diverting youth away from the justice system in a positive manner,” says Sarasota County Sheriff Tom Knight. “It’s a win-win for the community as a whole.” 

Click for more.

[Re-Openings]  All Tennis Courts Are Now Open in the City of Sarasota.

In addition to the Payne Park Tennis Center, all tennis courts in the City of Sarasota will open today. Outdoor Tennis Courts Reopening Policies for Arlington Park & Aquatic Complex, Gillespie Park and Pioneer Park:

—Follow park hours 5 am – 11 pm
—Excluding doubles play at this time, players will be asked to adhere to safe playing policies as recommended by the United States Tennis Association.
—Two (2) players per court to maintain six feet social distancing
—Each player must have a new can of balls that only he/she will touch; consider different color balls or marking your balls
—Players are to remain on one side of the court and remain 6 feet apart when taking breaks
—Players are asked to press the ball against their foot with the racket, lift up quickly, and hit to opponent 

For more info.

[Re-Openings]  Re-Opening of Arlington Park and Aquatic Complex Pools

The City of Sarasota Parks & Recreation District will re-open Arlington Park and Aquatic Complex pools with limited hours. Public swim times will be Monday through Friday, 10 am - 4 pm. Advanced reservations and prepayment for swim times via our online system eTrak are required.  Reservations will be available in increments of 45-minutes each and beginning on the hour to allow for 15 minutes of sanitation between sessions. Reservations will be available one week prior, beginning ever Friday at noon, for example, on Friday, May 22 at noon reservations for Friday, May 29 - June 5 will be available.  For online reservations please follow this link: https://www.letsplaysarasota.com/program-guide/online-registration 

Reservations will be limited to one (1) reservation per person per day for one (1) swimmer per lane unless patrons are from the same household/family unit. If more than one person is swimming per lane, you will pay online for one swimmer and pay the balance due when you arrive to Arlington Park. If you need to modify your reservation, please call 941-263-6732 at least 24 hours in advance.  Cancelations made less than 24 hours in advance and no show will not qualify for refunds.

Locker rooms will not be available, please come dressed in your swimming attire.  The indoor gymnasium, lounge chairs, and equipment such as kickboards and water weights will not be available. Separate entrance and exit gates will be utilized.


Click for details.

[Best of SRQ]  Celebrating the Best Local Boutique of 2020

According to some sources, money can’t buy happiness, but it can buy new shoes and that’s pretty darn close. Our Platinum Best of SRQ winner is the perfect excuse to treat yourself. L.BOUTIQUE takes the top spot in the Best Of competition. Gold is scoredby MOLLY’S, while Silver shares a three-way win with THE MET, INFLUENCE and FOXY LADY. Lastly, our Bronze winner, MARMALADE, is sweet on toast, and even sweeter for your closet.  

Image: Best of SRQ Local 2019 feature

Read more from the Best of SRQ 2020 Competition HERE

[Safety]  Face Mask Giveaway in Manatee County's Most Impacted COVID-19 Areas

Commissioner Misty Servia will host another face mask and hand sanitizer giveaway tomorrow morning in South Manatee County. Face masks remain available at three area youth centers and MCR Health locations throughout Manatee County.

The CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies), especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.

South County/Tallevast Distribution

Tomorrow from 8:30 - 10 a.m., Commissioner Servia will give out face masks and offer gel hand sanitizer refills to anyone who brings a small plastic pump or squeeze container, 10 ounces or less. The event will be at the Transit Fleet Transit Fleet Facility at 2411 Tallevast Rd.

"Turnout has been overwhelming at these events and we're doing what we can to host more," said Commissioner Servia. "People are so kind when they arrive. For Friday's event we're just asking people to bring smaller plastic containers for the hand sanitizer so that there's enough for everyone to have some."

Palmetto, Bradenton Distribution

Commissioner Reggie Bellamy recently worked with Figgers Wireless and MCR Health to obtain 10,000 KN-95 face masks approved by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. The face masks continue to be given at all MCR Health locations in Manatee County Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., to receive a free mask. (Limit one per person. Must be present to receive a mask). Masks are available while supplies last.

Masks are also available during the hours of noon and 2 p.m. at three youth centers in Manatee County while supplies last:
Palmetto Youth Center, 501 17th St W, Palmetto
Rubonia Community Center, 1309 72nd St E, Palmetto
13th Avenue Dream Center, 922 24th St E, Bradenton
"People are grateful for these materials and we're grateful to be able to help," said Commissioner Bellamy.

“I applaud Commissioner Bellamy’s desire to provide much needed masks to some of the most impacted area’s of our community and we are honored partner with him and Figgers Wireless in sponsoring and distributing over 10,000 free masks to members of our community,” said MCR Health President and CEO Patrick Carnegie. “We are proud to be on the front lines providing testing and treatment to combat COVID-19 and this collaboration will potentially help prevent thousands in our community from being infected with this virus.”

The free face masks being given away are disposable but they can be used more than once if they are not soiled. Use clean, sanitized hands whenever a disposable face mask is put on or removed from the face. If the mask is clean after wearing, it should be folded in half (lengthwise or widthwise) and then folded so the outside surfaces touch each other. Place the folded mask in a sealed paper bag or, if you use a plastic bag leave it open. 

Click for more details.

SRQ Media Group

SRQ DAILY is produced by SRQ | The Magazine. Note: The views and opinions expressed in the Saturday Perspectives Edition and in the Letters department of SRQ DAILY are those of the author(s) and do not imply endorsement by SRQ Media. Senior Editor Jacob Ogles edits the Saturday Perspective Edition, Letters and Guest Contributor columns.In the CocoTele department, SRQ DAILY is providing excerpts from news releases as a public service. Reference to any specific product or entity does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation by SRQ DAILY. The views expressed by individuals are their own and their appearance in this section does not imply an endorsement of them or any entity they represent. For rates on SRQ DAILY banner advertising and sponsored content opportunities, please contact Ashley Ryan Cannon at 941-365-7702 x211 or via email

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