Frontline Fund Colorado helps essential workers by providing gift cards to local businesses
It’s no secret that essential workers have experienced the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic, whether they’re treating patients or keeping things running as smoothly as possible. Two Eagle County residents created a new non-profit to help those workers: Frontline Fund Colorado.
Frontline Fund Colorado was founded by Carrie Calvin and Jill Coyle, spouses of local firefighters, and sells merchandise with local flair: stickers that say “Eagle County Strong,” tees with mountains and pine trees, koozies and water bottles with bike chains. All proceeds from merchandise sales are used to purchase gift cards from local businesses and given to front line workers.
“We wanted to create something people wanted to wear, were proud to wear, that also pumped the dollars through our local economy and to those who need more support during hard times,” said Coyle.
The fund is using a broad definition of essential worker in order to help as many people as possible. Coyle said they want to help any individuals and immediate families who have been “negatively impacted because they are mandated to continue working to provide necessities we need in order to live during a pandemic.” That includes workers in the following industries: grocery, healthcare, first responders, postal service, veterinary, plumbing and more.
While work on the Frontline Fund was in its early stages, Coyle tested positive for COVID-19. She said she was sick for three weeks, though her symptoms never prompted a hospital visit. Her care providers instructed her to isolate, take Tylenol and hydrate. During that whole time, she kept thinking about those who are high-risk for the virus and those who experienced worse symptoms than she did.
“I am 31 years old, active and healthy… and it took me down,” she said. “It made it clear that we needed to do something more to help.”
While Coyle was sick, Calvin took the reins on the project and started setting up designs and the website back end. Both founders work in marketing, and they wanted to keep the money as local as they could, so they hired Eagle-based Say No More Promotions to do the merchandise.
Now that the fund has launched, customers and those wishing to make cash donations can head to frontlinefundcolorado.org to purchase and donate. Essential workers can apply to receive gift cards from local businesses online, and get additional information by contacting the fund directly. People can also nominate loved ones they feel would benefit from Frontline Fund’s service.
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Are we seeing more bears because there are more bears on the valley floor, or because we’re all spending more time at home? It could be a bit of both.