Donations go to public-facing essential workers

The note included with the ‘Tokens of Gratitude.’
Photo courtesy of Mary Rider and Stephanie Yost

By Stephanie Yost and Mary Rider

Three weeks ago, we had side-by-side articles in the Town Crier addressing different ways our mountain communities can cope with the COVID-19 pandemic. Yost’s article offered suggestions for how members of the community can support local businesses through the purchase of gift cards and Rider’s was about the mental and physical benefits of walking in the woods.

Rider’s musings during her own daily walk in the woods inspired “Tokens of Gratitude,” an idea intended to help local businesses while simultaneously providing a mechanism to thank the daily public-facing essential workers who regularly put their health on the line at work while interfacing with the community in these uncertain times. 

Rider saw Yost’s article and reached out to see if Idyllwild Community Center (ICC) could work with her to make her idea a reality.

Through our combined efforts “Tokens of Gratitude,” which are $25 gift certificates, are being given to 100-plus daily public-facing essential workers this week to be spent at the local business of their choice. 

This is truly a “win-win” scenario, as it allows the tude to these critical workers, while simultaneously providing support for our local economy. 

The gift certificate recipients are employees of the grocery stores, pharmacy, health centers, post office, hardware stores and gas stations in Idyllwild, Pine Cove and Mountain Center.

ICC spearheaded the organization and fundraising for this project, which proved to be easy through the very generous donations of Idyllwild Rotary, Soroptimist International of Idyllwild, individuals from the boards of ICC and Friends of San Jacinto Mountain County Parks, as well as local friends and supporters of these organizations. 

The collaboration and effort of everyone who donated money to “Tokens of Gratitude” demonstrates the goodwill and support community groups and mountain community residents exhibit during challenging times.  

Any overage in donations is being converted to $25 gift certificates from local grocery stores that will be provided to needy families through ICC’s coordination with the Idyllwild HELP Center.  

Mary Rider is president of Friends of San Jacinto Mountain County Parks and Stephanie Yost is board president of Idyllwild Community Center.