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Marco Island group helping hospitality workers affected by pandemic

A Marco Island group is helping their neighbors in need while hoping to inspire a movement.

The Marco Island Patriots are collecting money to buy gift cards for people during the coronavirus pandemic.

“A lot of restaurant workers work day to day paying their bills. I was in hospitality myself for 25 years,” said Timon Elliot.

He knows workers who depend on tourism dollars are struggling.

“They were the first hit; people need to survive.”

Now, he and others with the Marco Island Patriots are sending help, raising thousands to send gift cards so those who need help can get groceries.

“I had some girl the other day come by and she said she’s down to her last 12 dollars,” said Rose Kriberscheck, a manager at the Crazy Flamingo on Marco Island.

She said the restaurant is managing to stay open with food deliveries, but the pay is hardly enough.

“Rents still due, mortgages still due, childcare… they’re relying on a steady income coming in daily daily daily… this is really going to hurt them. Big time.”

She said every little bit helps, and it’s especially meaningful when it comes from your community.

“It’s great what they’re doing, it really is,” Kriberscheck said, adding she’d like to see other people step up and help their neighbors.

“They’re the people that we all come to whether you’re a visitor or someone local; they’re the ones who help make your day, help make you happy,” Elliot said.

The Marco Patriots are taking donations from the community on their website, and if you know someone in the hospitality industry that could really use the help, you can also recommend a worker on the page.

Reporter:Gina Tomlinson
Writer:Jackie Winchester
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