The City of Little Falls, Main Street First, and Think Local have come up with a program to recognize people considered essential workers.
The goal was to raise $3000 and use the money to purchase gift cards from local businesses. Then randomly pick 1 essential person in the community each day for 30 days, and reward them with $100 in gift cards. The response was so overwhelming, they raised over $11,000 in 3 days, so they tripled the amount of recipients receiving gift cards. Little Falls Mayor Mark Blask says the program not only makes people feel good, but also supports the local economy.
“We are obviously concerned about getting back on our feet once this crisis ends, so we want to do everything we can to make sure that that happens.”
Since they raised more money than expected, they added a twist by including an additional $25 gift card to pass along to someone who could use a pick-me-up.
“It feels good to get a gift card, but it feels great to give something forward, so we’re just trying to expand the program in as many ways as possible.”
Kinney Drug Store employee Renee Coonradt was chosen by a co-worker to receive that extra gift card.
“I never expected it. It’s great that people appreciate what we’re doing because we’re going home after working all day to our families, so it’s heartwarming when they appreciate it.”
Canal Side Inn & The Stone Mill Business Owner Daivd Casullo believes the value of the gift cards will affect business beyond face value once things get back to normal.
“When crisis strikes, character is revealed, and I think the character of our community has been really obvious during this crisis.”
Even though responses are still coming in, Mayor Blask will not be accepting any donations after the close of business on Friday April 17th. He says the goal has not only been achieved, but exceeded, and doesn’t want to put any additional financial stress on an already stressed economy.