TEAM PUSHING THROUGH THE PANDEMIC

By Nancy Johnson, CEO

A frequent and generous TEAM Punta Gorda donor recently observed that this pandemic has not hit all of us equally, and that those who are still doing well, need to do more. She pulled out her checkbook and wrote a generous sponsorship check on the spot.

In these uncertain times we are depending heavily on our nonprofit community to provide increased services to those who are unemployed, or otherwise impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. Many of these same nonprofits are severely limited at this time in the strategies they can use to raise funds. Most special events are canceled or postponed. We ask that you choose this moment to write that check to your favorite helping nonprofit.

Many in our community who have never been unemployed before are facing layoffs, and food insecurity. It is for this reason that TEAM recently held its second successful food drive to restock the Saint Vincent DePaul food pantry. We will continue to do this periodically as long as there is increased need, and we know that other groups are holding them as well.

We are fortunate that we live in a community where the virus statistics are a little lower than other areas. Now is the time that many residents are deciding whether to return to our community for the winter season. It is particularly appealing that our climate allows us to meet and socialize safely outdoors all year-round, something which will become increasingly difficult in Northern climates. As our snowbirds return, we hope that they are mindful that our relatively low COVID-19 statistics will go up if they do not re-enter our community carefully. Consider a voluntary quarantine, remember social distancing, avoid large gatherings, wash hands frequently and wear a mask.

Despite our limitations, however, we’re pleased to report that TEAM Punta Gorda’s community projects are moving forward: TEAM Builds volunteers are currently helping Charlotte Habitat for Humanity build another affordable home for a family.

The Veterans Wall group along with TEAM Punta Gorda held a volunteer day to catalog and sort the thousands of memorial bricks removed from the Veterans Park for cleaning and renovation. The bricks will be returned to the park in the near future.

The first block of our Punta Gorda in Bloom project has been completed. Hanging baskets have been installed in Hector House Plaza and large pots along the sidewalk in the brick areas. The committee plans to start on the next two blocks of Taylor Street very soon.

Sadly, Paddle Punta Gorda has been canceled. The committee hopes to have a kayaking special event in the Spring. The Pedal & Play bicycle event is still scheduled for March, with optimism.

Our community Garden at the History Park is fully subscribed at 92 plots, and looking good. Our high school gardeners took on the huge task of weeding the common areas. They did a beautiful job.

TEAM will be working with the city and the Gulf Coast Partnership to paint newly acquired homes for low-income veterans. The painting will likely not occur until January.

We are currently working on projects that can be accomplished with online meetings or with no more than five volunteers on site at a time. A big thank you to all of the volunteers that make it possible for us to accomplish so much each and every year, and especially right now. Please wear a mask and be safe. Nancy Johnson is the CEO of TEAM Punta Gorda. TEAM Punta Gorda is a 501©(3) nonprofit organization. Ideas or questions can be addressed to team@teampuntagorda.org or visit our website, www.teampuntagorda.org. TEAM Punta Gorda works in three priority areas: Community Service, Community Improvement and Community Development.