Omar Rodríguez Ortiz, Marco Eagle
Published March 25th, 2020
A volunteer-based non-profit focused on disaster response is making the day brighter for dozens who work in restaurants, bars and hotels in Marco Island but were recently laid off amid the coronavirus pandemic. Marco Patriots have raised over $6,500 as of Sunday evening through online fundraisers and a generous donor who gifted $1,000. "Our focus is on hospitality workers, the very people who make visiting and living on the island so enjoyable," wrote Erin Mia Milchman, board president of the Marco Patriots. "It's limited to individuals that work on the island but not limited to those who live on the island." Patriots will be giving $50 gift cards to all accepted applicants, according to Milchman. Milchman wrote many of them depend on the revenue generated during high season. "The wonderful people who make your stay here when you visit enjoyable and tend to all the locals12 months a year are now experiencing a complete halt to all income," Milchman wrote. "That's going to be devastating and it's not their fault." "They are the very people who keep this island running and we need to surround them with support now." On March 20, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed an executive order directing restaurants and other food-service establishments to close dining rooms and use their kitchens solely for takeout and delivery purposes through May 8. After Gov. DeSantis signed the order, Naples and Fort Myers restaurants laid off hundreds, according to Naples Daily News.