Owners of fire-damaged Island Cow start fundraiser to help employees

Owners and staff of Sanibel’s Island Cow restaurant seen before the August 6 fire. Courtesy of Brian and Elke Podlasek

With Sanibel’s popular Island Cow restaurant still in shambles after a fire on Saturday, its owners have started a fundraiser to help the out-of-work employees.

Brian and Elke Podlasek, the restaurant’s owners, say their biggest challenge is helping their staff of over 50 people. All are currently facing unemployment while the restaurant awaits repairs that may take until the end of 2023 to be completed. According to a Facebook post, they have set up a fundraiser for Island Cow employees through the local nonprofit Put It On Pete’s Tab, Inc., which was made to support people struggling in the hospitality industry.

“Unlike GoFundMe, 100% of funds raised will go directly to our employees — not to us or to the rebuild, plus all donations are tax-deductible!” the Podlaseks wrote on Facebook. “As owners, we will be matching every donation, dollar for dollar, up to $10,000.”

Anyone interested in donating to “help the herd” can visit this link.

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