As our region adapts to the new way of life since the COVID-19 pandemic struck, our agents continue to answer the call of community needs. From spreading hope to making others smile, to providing significant support to those most affected.
In January, Sherri Mills with the Longboat Key office started an initiative called Live2Give as a way to highlight, inspire and share ideas of good works being done in the community. A few weeks later, she started the Live2Give Facebook group where interest quickly grew. It had over 100 people in 11 states and Europe in just two weeks. It grew organically and exponentially, becoming a place for people to post needs they hear about in the community, what they are doing individually, and what can be done collectively.
Then, the Coronavirus crisis happened.
“None of us ever thought a pandemic was heading our way but it is very fortunate that we were organized before COVID-19 started to impact our area,” Sherri said.
Since Live2Give’s launch and the midst of the pandemics’ alarm, the initiative’s members spurred into action to heed the cries and pleas from those facing the residual effects of the virus. The supporters of Live2Give have united to find simple solutions for challenges and major support for those in desperate circumstances.
Rallying resources and connections
“We had heard the Girl Scouts had an abundance of cookies because they couldn’t sell in public and we wanted to do something to show the Sarasota Memorial Hospital medical professionals our gratitude for all they do,” she explained. “So, we bought over 12 cases of cookies and delivered them to the SMH liaison.”
“We also heard that Manatee Children’s Services‘ funding was pulled and they literally didn’t have enough food for the 30 children,” Sherri said.
Manatee Children’s Services provides shelter for abused children in Manatee and Sarasota. Live2Give members mailed in checks and donated items within a few hours of hearing the news.
“Then, I started to work my network. Gail Loefgren, president of the Longboat Key Chamber, reached out to a board member who is the Longboat Key Publix manager. He reached out to a distributor and got 300 meals donated,” Sherri said.
“I called Sarasota-Manatee Originals and they are working on getting donations from Cisco. And to boot, the Girl Scouts whose cookies we bought had some cookies they couldn’t sell, so they donated a box of cookies for each child. Manatee Children’s Services will eventually get funding, but they needed help until they can secure it.”
Live2Give also did a donation drive in February — again, before knowing a pandemic was coming — for full-size toiletry items for Safe Place & Rape Crisis Center (SPARCC), a domestic abuse center and shelter in the area.
“We understand that as stress increases, so does domestic violence cases and, sure enough, their shelter is full. Over 300 items were collected and I am matching each item with a financial donation,” Sherri said.
During the fear and stress of COVID-19 weighing on our community, Live2Give is a happy place to go on social media, sharing uplifting stories of the good deeds and positive impacts of generous and caring individuals rallying together. Sherri is creating a video series on the group page to offer giveaways and highlight local attractions that ‘soothe the soul’, she said.
In just its short lifetime, members are already urging the initiative to be a nonprofit organization to advance its community efforts. Sherri has filled out the application to the State of Florida and applied to trademark the name. In November, Sherri’s goal is to host an event to raise funds for collectively chosen charities. Join the Live2Give Facebook group for more information.
More good deeds in the community
Agents continue to share amazing acts of kindness. Here is a round-up of our team out in the field just this last week!
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