Goodwill-Suncoast reducing store, donation site hours
Lending a helping hand to others in the community is as important now as it’s ever been, but be aware that COVID-19 is forcing many charitable groups to change things up. One such example is Goodwill-Suncoast, which has had to reduce its hours for both its stores and donation sites.
For the time being, Goodwill-Suncoast retail store hours are 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 12 to 6 p.m. Sunday. Donation centers are still open seven days a week, but only from 1 to 5 p.m. Goodwill Outlet Stores in Lakeland, Ocala and St. Petersburg are only open from 7:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. Tuesday through Friday.
Chronister warns of coronavirus scams
Because there’s always someone out there trying to make a dishonest dollar, scammers are using the coronavirus pandemic to their advantage. Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister released a public service announcement last week warning residents to stay vigilant and realize if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
“Scammers are trying to take advantage of your fears,” Chronister said in the PSA. “If you or your business gets a call from someone claiming they are selling face masks or other personal protection equipment, proceed with caution.”
One such scam involves individuals posing as sales representatives from companies that sell N95 face masks. When you buy the masks — which the scammers don’t really have — they get your money and you get nothing. Chronister encourages people and companies to buy from trusted businesses and to document all transactions thoroughly.
Some scammers are pretending to be with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. They’re sending emails containing false information about COVID-19 treatments or cures, none of which actually exist yet or are safe for human use, and may also request your personal information under the guise of sending you an economic stimulus check from the government.
“When in doubt, always go to an official government website to see if what you’re reading is real,” Chronister said.
Florida Blue helps Tampa Bay area YMCAs
Tampa Bay area YMCAs just got a big assist from Florida Blue, which has donated $2 million to help facilities all over Florida offer child care for essential workers.
“The health and well-being of our communities is our top priority right now. We are grateful for the health care workers, emergency responders and other essential staff who are on the front lines combating COVID-19,” David Pizzo, Florida Blue Market President, West Florida, said. “We commend the efforts of the YMCAs of Tampa Bay for collaborating on this regional effort to provide vital members of our community with an affordable, safe and supportive location for their children while they are fulfilling critical work to keep our communities healthy.”
Of the $2 million donated, $100,000 will go to 21 facilities in greater Tampa Bay area. That includes the Tampa Metropolitan Area YMCA network, of which the Plant City Family YMCA is a member.
Essential workers can drop their children off at the Plant City Y five days a week for just $10 a day, though no child will be turned away because of an inability to pay and financial aid is available. Register online at tampaymca.org/relief-care.
Curbside Cuddles offers drive-through pet adoption
The Hillsborough County Pet Resource Center now offers a “Curbside Cuddles” program allowing people to adopt pets without physically entering a shelter.
Anyone interested in having a “self-isolation sidekick” can find a pet online at HCFLGov.net/Adopt, then register for the service and identify their favorite furry friend at HCFLGov.net/AtYourService or by calling 813-272-5900. You can then either stop by the PRC yourself for curbside pickup or, if you live within the qualifying area, have the pet delivered to you by the “Cuddle Shuttle.” The PRC is located at 440 N. Falkenburg Road and is open from 12 to 4 p.m. on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays and from 2 to 6 p.m. on Wednesdays and Fridays.
Plant City-area artists sought for upcoming Periphery Media virtual art exhibition
Local artists have the opportunity to be a part of Periphery Media’s new exhibition, the “Social Distancing Virtual Art Exhibition.”
The group is accepting donations until April 10. The online show will run from April 13 to April 27 and the public will have the opportunity to vote on their favorite pieces. The artist with the most votes will win a cash prize composed of 97 percent of the submission fees Periphery takes in for the exhibition (the group’s credit card processor takes three percent). The submission fee is $10 per submission and each artist can submit up to three pieces.
Visit peripherymediaonline.com/calls for more information.