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Roundup: Leadership St. Pete launches stay home campaign, panic buying drops, sports teams serve up food donations

Margie Manning



Photo by Mohammad Fahim on Unsplash

Today’s roundup includes news from Leadership St. Pete, Catalina, BeniComp Health Solutions, Tampa Bay Rays, Tampa Bay Rowdies and USF Health.

Leadership St. Pete has launched a powerful social media campaign urging the community to respect social distancing to stop the spread of Covid-19 coronavirus.

The campaign came out of a Covid-19 task force that was initiated by Dr. Farhan Malik of Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital and a member of the LSP class of 2019.

“As leaders, we have an obligation to stand up and set an example for our community always, but especially now,” said Madeline McCarthy, chair of the LSP Class of 2020.

TriForce Pictures offered pro bono assistance for the campaign, one of several efforts by LSP alumna that are detailed here.

Panic buying due to the coronavirus appears to be easing, according to new data from Catalina, a St. Petersburg tech firm that collects and analyzes shopping data. For the week ending March 28, shoppers made fewer trips to grocery and drug stores and spent more per visit, Catalina said. The number of shopping trips declined by 13 percent compared to the same week in 2019, while the amount spent per visit was up 31 percent.

With three out of four Americans now sheltering in place, people are baking. Flour sales are up 154 percent and baking mix sales are up 99 percent, Catalina said. There’s been a 102 percent jump in sales of household cleaning products.

Click here for Catalina’s interactive map that shows the impact Covid-19 is having on shopping decisions and buyer behavior.

BeniComp Health Solutions, a Tampa insuretech, is aggressively hiring despite the Covid-19 crisis.

The company, which views itself as a disruptor in the health insurance space, wants to find talented individuals who have been displaced as other firms cut back, a spokesman said.

BeniComp is increasing its sales team with licensed, senior health insurance agents; strengthening its software development team with senior full stack developers and UI/UX designers; and looking for a digital operations assistant and a financial planning and analysis consultant. Job details are here.

BeniComp said it also plans to invest heavily in new health technology and boost philanthropic initiatives, the spokesman said.

The Tampa Bay Rays and Tampa Bay Rowdies are donating up to 2.5 million meals to Feeding Tampa Bay to help those in need during the Covid-19 crisis.

The Rays Baseball Foundation and Rowdies Soccer Fund will begin the campaign with a donation of 1 million meals and have pledged to match all donations to the virtual food drive webpage, up to an additional 1.5 million meals.

Feeding Tampa Bay’s current focus is on closing the gaps created by the Covid-19 crisis. Those gaps include children who are out of school and have no access to school meals or after-school meals; seniors and others who are at greatest risk and cannot reach food; and families who are experiencing higher expenses and lower wages who would not normally have needed food services.

Mary Pipino

Fans can join the campaign by clicking here. Supporters can purchase essential food items from a shopping list or make a monetary donation.

Tampa philanthropist Mary Pipino has made a $25,000 gift to USF Health to support its research efforts and fight the coronavirus pandemic.

Pipino’s gift will establish the USF Health Pandemic Research & Response Fund, which will support the immediate and long-term needs to prevent, treat and train for a pandemic response, a news release said.

As of Friday morning, 133 donors had raised almost $50,000 for the fund. To donate, click here.

Pipino is an executive vice president and president of real estate risk management for Beecher Carlson Insurance Services, LLC, a large account risk management company. She’s also an alumna of University of South Florida.




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