Season of Sharing is the finest pay-it-forward program and unlike anything else in the country.
Through your immense generosity we set a new record in our 20th year. Then in March, when the Herald-Tribune's partners – the Community Foundation of Sarasota County and the Patterson Foundation – surmised what a huge impact this latest threat would mean, we reactivated Season of Sharing and drew in another like amount to battle the impacts of COVID-19.
But here's the problem: It won't be enough. My partners over at the Community Foundation have so aptly compared the COVID threat to a tidal wave that now is only pulling the waters out of our bays and estuaries as it builds a massive wave that is sure to swamp many of our friends and neighbors if they go without help.
Conservative estimates suggest that the roughly $5 million raised since our fall campaign will only meet the enormous needs coming from the community for about the next seven months. The burn rate of need is at least double what it would normally be, as thousands of people either lose their footing with unexpected or unaffordable bills and impacts or as they struggle to regain their sea legs.
As with COVID, this could be any one of us. I have always considered the "but for the grace of God go I" in my work with Season of Sharing.