The spread of coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) — and efforts to stay out of harm’s way — have sparked creativity and ingenuity across The Laker/Lutz News region.
When plans to celebrate Kynlee Kuberski’s 11th birthday at Universal Studios were canceled because of COVID-19, dozens of people came by her Connerton home, to wish her a happy birthday.
They came on foot, on bikes, in cars and even in a Pasco County Fire Rescue truck — to help her celebrate at a safe distance — in response to a request by her Kynlee’s mom, Jessi, on her neighborhood Facebook page.
Kynlee’s teacher, Macy Kendrick, from Connerton Elementary, was among the well-wishers, some of whom honked their horns as a birthday greeting.
Meanwhile, Pasco County Tax Collector Mike Fasano found a way to serve customers — despite closing his offices to in-person lobby services. All five tax collector offices are handling limited transactions through drive-thru. They’re processing automobile, boat and mobile home registration renewals, property tax payments, and handicapped permit applications.
The Hillsborough County Pet Resource Center also has come up with a way to help adopters who are interested in having a self-isolation sidekick but can’t physically come into the shelter. They’re calling that program Curbside Cuddles.
There’s another program for adopters who can’t come to the center that they’re calling Cuddles Shuttles. Find out more about these programs by calling (813) 744-5660.
On another front, Michele Northrup — former Lutz Guv’na — is using her entrepreneurial skills to help vendors — including her own business — that have watched their scheduled events evaporate.
“I’ve been doing markets for years, and helping run markets and shows. I have a group of maybe 200 to 250 vendors that I pull from to do these different shows and markets.
“Well, now these vendors have nothing. They have no income,” she said.
“What do you do when your markets close?” she asked. “Find new markets,” she responded.
Northrup put out the word that she’d like to create vendor boxes and, in essence, bring the Farmer’s Market to people’s doors.
The boxes sell for $60 and $100 each, and include such items as fresh produce, honey, artisan soaps, homemade disinfectant spray, sauces, spices and fresh Cuban bread.
Each week, the boxes will vary.
The first deliveries were made over the weekend.
Northrup hoped for at least 22 orders on the first shipment and wound up with 39.
Orders are being taken for the next shipment on SaucyQueen.com.
Many other businesses and shops also are changing the way they serve customers, including Hungry Harry’s Bar-B-Que, on U.S. 41 in Land O’ Lakes. It is also still smokin’ — offering pit carryout, of its full menu.
A sign on both sides of the restaurant encourages people to call ahead for faster service.
Land O’ Lakes resident Sandy Graves offered two examples of organizations adapting to limitations imposed by COVID-19.
For one, the Land O’ Lakes Rotary Club held its first virtual meeting using Zoom.
She also noted: “Keystone Community Church did a drive-in worship service on Sunday. It was really good. We were honking horns, instead of clapping.”
Many churches are adjusting to COVID-19 by live-streaming their services.
The Rev. Adrienne Hymes said Wesley Chapel Episcopal Church is using technology to keep the congregation connected, but also is using old-fashioned one-on-one telephone calls to keep in touch.
Atonement Lutheran Church, in Wesley Chapel, plans a drive-thru service, to hand out palms and a blessing on Palm Sunday.
Christine Holtzman contributed to this story.
Published April 1, 2020