Steer Pushes Back Against COVID-19

Did you know that a guy from Providence, a son of immigrants, heads a company that produced the “Shark Vortex” for the Discovery Channel and “Bermuda Shipwrecks” for National Geographic?

Carlos Toro, originally from Smith Hill in the city, heads Steer, a Providence-based multi-media company. He’s been in business since 2014, and over the years he’s shot video while swimming with hammerhead sharks and humpback whales. “You need to get the humpback real close to you’” to get a quality shot, he observed.

But in recent weeks Steer faced an unforeseen challenge: COVID-19.

“The window was closing on in-person shoots,” he said, due to social distancing and stay-at- home directives. So he and his team sought ways they could fight COVID-19 using multi-media tools.

They decided to reach out to help non-profits by producing free public service announcements--including Family Service of Rhode Island’s, which asks for donations for the BeSafe campaign. Their vision was to “bring good news to the community,” he said.

“Like anyone would be, I was a bit worried when I went to the Steer studio to record,” said Maggie Slane, who heads Family Service of Rhode Island’s BeSafe campaign. “But Carlos and his team were patient, which was a good thing since I had to do it over and over again until we finally got a usable one!” she said smiling.

Shooting the video did take a while, he acknowledged. In the end, “I used the most natural one. She threw her script away,” he said.

But Carlos, who has lost an uncle and a friend to COVID-19, wanted to do more. He heard that Family Service of Rhode Island needed a van and drivers to make deliveries for the BeSafe campaign, which provides cleaning products, food and other necessities to low-income seniors, families and individuals across the state.

Today, thanks to Carlos and Steer, the BeSafe campaign has a customized van as well as Steer employees as drivers, including Carlos. “It gives us an outlet to push back” against COVID-19, he said.

Steer also purchased the web address and, donated them to Family Service of Rhode Island and is helping to develop content for the sites.

“We are so grateful for the support of Carlos and his company,” said Maggie Slane.“Thousands of Rhode Islanders in need have already benefited because of his commitment.And he truly is an inspiration to us all.”