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.