Help4Hope Montrose to launch card program, help local families in need and provide economic stimulus program for local restaurants

Don Vincent, Sarah Fishering, Stephen Schiell, Jane Marie Amundson, and Sarah Plumhoff stand outside the Stone House on Tuesday, June 9, 2020. All five are contributing to Help4Hope’s community investment card program. 

After announcing the community investment card program in early May, Help4Hope is ready to launch its new program and help local families and restaurants.

The program provides meals for families in need, essential workers, and revenue for local restaurants who have experienced a substantially different circumstance since the closures in mid-March.

The fund, with contributions from title sponsors Alpine Bank and Morgridge Family Foundation, has been supported by local businesses and organizations — Rotary Club of Montrose; Edward Jones Financial Advisors; Law Offices of Brent Martin: Mathis Martin and Kidnay; Cimmaron Ridge Legal Group; Montrose Community Foundation.

With those funds and donations, Help4Hope has raised $23,000 for the program, and has 460 cards available for distribution.

The meal cards, each valued at $50, can be used at participating restaurants — Divot’s, Fiesta Guadalajara, Jimmers, Stone House, Rio Bravo Steakhouse, Hiro Japanese Steakhouse, Remington’s at The Bridges, Guru’s, and Camp Robber.

The cards are designed to help create a stimulus fund for local restaurants while helping feed local families, support local businesses, pave a path for stability over a longer period for local food-service and save jobs.

“It’s really an economic stimulus for the restaurants, a thank you to those essential workers, and assistance for those who need it,” said Tonya Martin, who, along with Sarah Fishering, is on the committee that brought the program to fruition.

The program is simple. Once a card is used at a participating restaurant, that eatery can then redeem the card to the Montrose Community Foundation for $50 reimbursement.

“The hope is to get everybody to use these cards as quickly as possible so we can fuse money into the restaurants, so we want to use these quickly,” Martin said.

The first set of cards are good through July 15, Martin said, and the hope is to receive more funding to purchase another set of cards and have another round.

So, not only can restaurants see immediate funds, but families of four can have a meal paid for through the card; the card is one-time use only and is meant to provide four separate meals at once.

Martin said organizers reached out to Don Vincent, owner of The Stone House, to ask if the program made sense for restaurants and to gain insight on how to properly lay out the program.

“Don was our restaurant consultant to say, ‘you’re on base or you’re off base’, this is how you’re setting this up,” Martin said.

Divot’s, a local restaurant at Black Canyon Golf Course, is a local business that stands to benefit from the program.

“I think every little bit helps. It’s always good to give back to local businesses, who keep the economy going,” said Janece Culver, operator of Divot’s. “Through funding, when you give it to the community, and the community spends it locally, that helps everybody.”

As for distribution, the cards will be given out to essential workers — nursing home workers, health care workers, post office carriers, child care providers — as well as families in need that the Montrose County School District will refer to the nonprofit.

In addition, as a token of appreciation, Help4Hope gave meal cards to MCSD food service staff for their work handing out meals at food pick up sites during the shutdown.

Also, MCSD has invited families involved with the school district who have been impacted by layoffs or furloughs to take advantage of the program, said Matt Jenkins, MCSD public information officer.

The committee shied away from an application and eligibility process, instead allowing distributors to make the decisions of referring certain individuals.

“We’re working through the distributors,” said Sarah Plumhoff, executive director of the Montrose Community Foundation, also on the committee. “We feel like the distributors know their families and their clientele the best, so they’ll be able to say, ‘these people have been doing extra shifts, this person is having this issue’, so we’re leaving it up to them.”

Jane Marie Amundson, director of community outreach at Alpine Bank, said the bank was more than willing to join the community cause.

“Alpine Bank loves to support the community, and we thought this was an excellent way to get the essential workers with the restaurants and the community all together and promote Montrose,” she said.

A pair of participating restaurants shared their thoughts on the program.

“It sounded like something that's not only beneficial to ourselves, but the community,” James LaRue, owner of Jimmers.

“It’s a win-win for everybody,” Vincent said. “Obviously I want to get as much of my food in other people’s mouths as I can and expose my business, but if we can help people that wouldn’t normally have a chance to come out to eat, I’m even more about it.”

Help4Hope’s website, which Fishering helped design, is up and running. For more information, visit montrosehelp4hope.org

The program is accepting donations, which can be made through the website, or via check by mailing the Montrose Community Foundation, Timberline Bank Building, 1561 Oxbow Dr, Montrose, CO 81401.

For any questions, reach out to help4hopemontrose@gmail.com or call 314-443-8672.

At the moment, community investment cards are not available for purchase.

Josue Perez is a staff writer for the Montrose Daily Press

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