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Date of Issue: March 30, 2005

Outreach for Waterfront restaurant employees

The Anna Maria Island Chamber of Commerce and All Island Denominations have established independent programs to help employees of the Waterfront restaurant, which was badly damaged by fire on March 25.

According to restaurant owners Eric and Leah Suzor, there were 35 individuals employed at the restaurant.

Don Schroder, chamber president, said, "The purpose of the dual programs is to help the employees get back on their feet."

The Rev. Gary Batey of Roser Memorial Community Church met with the chamber executive committee to discuss how to work together in helping the employees while they search for new employment opportunities.

The chamber has asked its restaurant-owner members to try and absorb the cooks, servers and dishwashers by extending job opportunities, and Chef Damon Presswood of Ooh La La! Bistro has already hired two Waterfront employees.

The chamber is also collecting monetary donations, retailer gift certificates and any other suitable items at its office located at 5313 Gulf Drive, Holmes Beach. Checks should be made out to the Waterfront Restaurant.

Roser Memorial Community Church at 512 Pine Ave., Anna Maria, is accepting canned food items, dry goods, and food gift certificates for distribution from the church food bank. This effort is being supported by the six member churches of All Island Denominations.

"Tragedies such as this can hit any of our businesses," said Schroder. "Our chamber's motto is 'Businesses Helping Businesses' and there isn't a better way to support our membership in their time of need than this combined effort. It is in the best tradition of our Island community."

For more information contact Batey at Roser Memorial Community Church, 778-0414, or Mary Ann Brockman at the chamber, 778-1541.