By Gwen Rollings

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing,” – Edmund Burke.

Not even the evil of COVID-19 has been able to curtail the efforts of the good men and women of the SouthShore Chamber of Commerce in Ruskin under the leadership of Melanie Davis, Executive Director. These are a sampling of the good deeds done:

MARCH:

Created a new ‘Open for Business’ Facebook Page to update information for all businesses.

Organized a high school graduation for a terminally ill migrant student two days before his death at hospice in Ruskin.

APRIL:

Created and published an updated list of restaurants’ hours, those open and closed.

Developed a new logo, SouthShore STRONG, to keep the community close and positive.

MAY:

Distributed over 250 masks to farmworkers, hospice and other essential workers in the community.

Asked local daycare to make THANK YOU cards for essential workers and distributed them (over 150) to grocery stores, farmworkers and healthcare providers.

Created a ‘THANK YOU SOUTHSHORE’ video featuring chamber members for all social media outlets resulting in huge positive response.

Created a ‘THANK YOU ESSENTIAL WORKERS’ video and featured local well-known community folks thanking their favorite essential workers.

Coordinated and co-sponsored the 12th annual Migrant Graduate Banquet (drive-through style) for 25 local migrant Lennard High School students.

MAY/JUNE:

Helped to distribute lunch to several hundred families in Ruskin/Wimauma when school was out.

JULY:

Created a fun, upbeat collage for our members, including faces of staff and board members, to raise morale and keep everyone motivated/positive during these trying times.

JULY/AUGUST:

Launched the SouthShore Forward program, allowing any business in the area to join the SouthShore Chamber for free for 90 days, no strings attached, with over 30 joining.

Collected over 12,500 diapers from community and members (in three weeks) to donate to RCMA daycare for farmworkers’ families.

AUGUST/SEPTEMBER:

Held multiple Cutting Up Around Town Ribbon Cuttings: chamber staff visited over 25 businesses per day and went “live” at each place with a ribbon cutting promoting businesses to the community.

Created the ‘SPEND LOCAL, WIN LOCAL CAMPAIGN’: a 30-day contest promoting small business shopping. The winner received $1,000 cash.

SEPTEMBER:

Chamber offices moved their locations to downsize and be able to continue to service our members by decreasing our overhead.

OCTOBER/NOVEMBER:

Assisted over 45 chamber members with the county’s R3 program (Cares Act), allowing members to receive anywhere from $10K-40K.

NOVEMBER:

Due to the absence of the Ruskin Veterans Day Parade, the chamber promoted eight different styles of Veterans Day yard signs and partnered with SouthShore signs to encourage community to purchase and display

Chamber staff distributed 100 hot meals (day before Thanksgiving) to homeless, migrant and children in group homes in the SouthShore area. All paid for by a customer and prepared by Little Habana Café.

DECEMBER:

Held a drive-through SouthShore Toys for Tots (exchange a toy for a coffee), collecting nearly three large boxes of toys.

Made baked goods and distributed at local trailer parks and migrant camps for over 50 families. Also continuing to distribute to over 50 businesses to date

Join the good people of the SouthShore Chamber in 2021. For information, visit www.southshorechamberofcommerce.org or call 645-1366.