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Islanders step up for restaurants, health care employees

Two Islanders have put their heads together and come up with a plan to help Island restaurants weather the economic storm brought on by the pandemic, as well as helping feed healthcare employees working long hours without breaks.

Brett Surerus and Alex Graham have initiated a program that will keep the restaurants functioning and also pay them to help feed the staffs at Eastern Long Island and Stony Brook Southampton hospitals through donations administered through “Shelter Island Action Alliance.”

Mr. Surerus said that the response from local restaurant owners has been “overwhelmingly positive.

In an email to the Reporter, Mr. Surerus and Ms. Graham laid out the details of the initiative, printed below:

To address the current reality hurting small, local businesses by providing an easy way to support Shelter Island restaurants and simultaneously feed our front line medical professionals.

Our Donations Program:

• Choose the restaurant you would like to support and the amount you are able to donate.

• Venmo Shelter Island Action Alliance (@shelterisland-actionalliance) and we’ll handle the rest.

• Your donation will go directly to the restaurant, which will determine the best way to optimize the money to feed the most people.

•The restaurants will deliver the meals to our hospital partners, ELIH and Southampton Hospital. By helping our restaurants to continue operating, they are committed to: continuing to provide takeout options; hiring back as much staff as possible; donating meals to hospitals and hospital staff.

• Thank you for your support in helping our community. By keeping our restaurants open, we can all eat well.

We plan to engage the public in short order since there is no time to waste, reaching out to every contact we have to encourage them to donate and support the backbone of our local economy.

We hope that you will, too. Below are “Frequently Asked Questions” that answer some of the most common questions. Please reach out with any further questions you may have at [email protected]

• Will you only be sending food to hospitals?

Answer: Initially yes, the front line hospital staff (nurses, doctors, administrators, janitorial staff) all need to be able to focus on the task at hand. We have a phase in the works for delivering to Island senior citizens or others in need.

• I don’t have Venmo, can I send other payments?

Answer: Yes. Please call the restaurant you want to support and tell them you would like to earmark this donation for the “Shelter Island Action Alliance.” They can take credit cards, debit cards and in some cases other payment methods. Cash is not accepted at this time.

• Can I select what the restaurant makes for food?

Answer: We believe the professional restaurant owners are best suited to know how to “get the best bang for your buck,” so we ask you allow them to use their products their way.

• Who can I contact to help?

Answer: [email protected] or 631-806-5458 (Brett Surerus) or 646-415-2792 (Alex Graham).

This program is wholly comprised of volunteers.

We are in this together.

Brett Surerus and Alex Graham
Program Administrators