Story Submitted by Elyse Mulholland

At first I really had a hard time with this quarantine but I’m slowly getting used to it. I’ve mostly been doing my school work which can be quite a lot at sometimes but I’m trying to keep myself active and motivated. I miss my school a lot which is something I never thought I’d say but the hardest part definitely has been not being able to see my friends. It’s been about a month since I’ve seen most of them and it’s especially hard when you’ve had your birthday and you are unable to celebrate with your friends and family. I’ve been talking to everyone and keeping in touch as much as I can and trying to keep a positive attitude during this really hard time and praying that it is over soon. I hope everyone stays safe and healthy tries to find the good in this bad situation.

Story Submitted by Alyssa Salgado

Right now during this time of quarantine and the Coronavirus, I will admit I am having a rough time. Right now I am a junior in high school and we just found out that the rest of the school year is canceled and we will be continuing with online schooling. It’s not something that I’m used to and now I need to get used to it. One thing that I don’t like about school being canceled is not being able to see my friends as often as I used to. I try to keep in touch with as many as I can whether it’s texting them or facetiming. I’m very much a social butterfly, I love talking to people, going out places but I can’t really do much of that anymore in this period of time. The only person I can talk to face to face is my mom, I love her but I’m going crazy cooped up in here and she is too.

Story Submitted by Jordyn Koche

In these trying and uncertain times, small businesses have taken a big hit, many forced to fire or furlough employees or even halt normal operations altogether. These businesses that are hugely impacted range from hotels, salons, restaurants, medical, and more. Small businesses are the heart of many cities in our country and across the globe — especially here in Tampa Bay.

We have started a foundation, the “COVID Relief Foundation of Tampa Bay,” with the goal of supporting local small businesses. COVID Relief Foundation of Tampa Bay, Inc. is a Florida nonprofit corporation in the process of applying for 501(c)(3) status. We will be taking applications from business owners and screening possible fund recipients to ensure they will be putting the money back into their businesses (rehiring and/or keeping employees).

Through our partnership with the Ciccio Restaurant Group we are currently giving away approximately 800 meals per week to local fire stations, police stations, hospitals, and all Ciccio Restaurant Group employees both furloughed and currently working.

This project was founded and is run by two high school Juniors, Jordyn Koche and Robbie Herzig (students at NH boarding school Phillips Exeter Academy), with the tremendous support of the Lanza Foundation and the Ciccio Restaurant Group.

The current situation of many of our neighbors is unprecedented. Please help us support them so we can keep local businesses at the center of our incredible community.