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The impact of COVID-19 on our communities is far-reaching and will likely be felt for a long time. It’s new territory for everyone and we believe that some of the most powerful means of support is grass roots – people trying to find ways to help those around them. Here we’re highlighting people and organizations that have created ways to help ease the burden on those that are particularly affected. If you want to pitch in, here are some great ways to do it.

We’re focusing on ways to help those in the F. Oliver’s ecosystem – food, restaurants, and local businesses. Do you know of a local support effort? Let us know! Email

Food Industry Support

Edible Finger Lakes needs our help! This publication is the absolute BEST resource for news and information about our regional food scene. They highlight the most interesting people who are doing the most amazing things – from farmers to chefs and everything in between. Great copy coupled with fabulous photography, it is a paper publication you shouldn’t miss. It is a perfect example of why local and regional matters; no one else is telling these stories or alerting you to the next great dining experience.

Their advertising base is especially hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. To stay viable, they need 3000 subscribers – won’t you be one?

The Downtown Ithaca Alliance lists all businesses in downtown Ithaca providing services during the pandemic while the City of Ithaca has a searchable database with businesses across Tompkins county.  From online classes to essential services, you can find what you’re looking for.

Tip your local bartender

The distillers at Iron Smoke Distillery have created a way to help bartenders who can’t work. They created the Smoke Out COVID-19 site where bartenders can post cocktail recipes and an optional video teaching us how to make their favorite cocktail and we can tip appropriately.  Try a new drink recipe tonight and don’t forget to tip your bartender!

Support Local

The pandemic is hitting some of us harder than others. Some local non-essential businesses, for example, have no means of selling their wares. To help remedy this, USA Today has created a support local page for dozens of locales throughout the country. From there, you can buy gift cards from many local businesses, helping them bring in revenue now, when they really need it and you get to enjoy their products when they reopen. It’s a great way to give a little now and get a lot back later.

Check out the businesses you can support in our communities:

Distilling Help

Black Button Distilling is doing their bit by turning their talents to creating a hand-sanitizer that meets the FDA’s strict requirement as a topical antiseptic. They are currently producing up to 10,000 bottles of hand sanitizer every day, with the bulk of that earmarked for healthcare organizations. They’re also selling individual bottles for personal use in limited quantities, if supplies allow. Check it out, password is BBDcovid19 if you need it.  Who knew? Artisnal hand sanitizer.

Support Your Local Restaurants

News10NBC, WHEC has aggregated links to restaurants and other local businesses that are open for business during the crisis. Our favorite restaurants are still making great food for takeout. Give them a spin.


Local Food Banks

Another effect of the pandemic is that our food banks don’t have access to some of their usual suppliers. Reataurants are closed and grocery stores are overwhelmed. To meet demand, many will have to purchase all the food they need to help ease food insecurity in their communities. If you’re eating well, consider giving a little to your local food bank. We’ve listed three that provide wonderful services for our communities.

Rochester’s Foodlink

Canandaigua’s Gleaner’s Kitchen

Ithaca’s Food Bank of the Southern Tier