Fifth Avenue South Business Improvement District Announces #UnitedonFifth

The district's businesses are giving back to the community amid COVID-19.

Photos by Samantha Bloom; courtesy of the Fifth Avenue South Business Improvement District.

The Fifth Avenue South Business Improvement District (BID) launched its #UnitedonFifth campaign to acknowledge and reinforce the united front among the district’s 220 businesses since COVID-19 restrictions first began in mid-March.

According to Bruce Barone, Jr., executive director of the BID, #UnitedonFifth is the result of a recent survey where merchants expressed their desire to “stay positive, stay together, and stay united.” Although events and public gatherings have been postponed, nearly 15 percent of Fifth Avenue South businesses are still open.

One of the primary #UnitedonFifth initiatives is Feeding the Frontline, designed to provide NCH healthcare workers, EMS personnel, and police officers with donated food from Fifth Avenue South restaurants.  The initiative provides a way for local residents, who pay for the food, to honor COVID-19 frontline fighters and support local businesses. The Port Royal Association donated $60,000 to purchase 150 gift cards from 10 different restaurants across the district. To bolster their efforts, BICE restaurant provided an additional $10 for every $40 gift card purchased.

In addition, Sails Restaurant and William Raveis Real Estate are collaborating to provide meals to NCH healthcare workers. Veljko Pavicevic, CEO of Sails and William Raveis, CEO of William Raveis Real Estate, began delivering 150 meals a day to hospital workers on April 10. Their goal is to feed a different floor each day and reach the hospital’s nearly 3,500 employees.

Local residents who want to support Feeding the Frontline may call a participating restaurant and request a specific dollar amount of food to be delivered to frontline workers and charge it to a credit card.  Participating restaurants prepare the food the following week and coordinate delivery to the frontline workers.  Local residents will be recognized for their gifts.

To donate food, call one or more of the following restaurants participating in the effort:

Residents can check the BID’s website for an updated list of restaurants that have joined the effort and how much money has been donated to support Naples’ frontline heroes.

Fifth Avenue businesses are participating in #UnitedonFifth in other ways:

The Inn on Fifth 

The hotel has arranged weekly special deliveries of food and supplies for employees who have been out of work since the hotel temporarily closed its doors. Hotel staff help package and distribute meat, pasta, eggs, milk, produce, and other items to housekeepers who are currently laid off. Owner Phil McCabe hopes to make this a weekly service and expand it to assist all employees.

“I want to do everything I can to help support our valued team members, who are a critical part of the guest experience and will play an important role in welcoming our guests back soon,” said McCabe.

Naples Soap Company

The company has donated hundreds of comfort care kits to healthcare workers at NCH and Lee Health. The kits include essentials items like soaps, shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, and toothpaste as well as other comfort items like bath bombs, chocolate, and honey.

“We are so grateful for the efforts of our local healthcare providers who are working tirelessly to serve our community,” Naples Soap Company CEO, Deanna Wallin, said.  “We know many of these nurses and doctors are away from their families and some are residing in hotels and other residences away from home. We hope our self care kits make their stay more comfortable.”

“Masks prevented us from seeing the smiles of joy from our team members, but we could see the smiles in their eyes,” said Paula DiGrigoli of NCH Healthcare. “Our nurses and doctors have been working so hard. This donation came at the right time, and we are grateful to Naples Soap for their kindness.”

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