EARLHAM, Iowa – Every household in Earlham received a generous surprise through the mail by an anonymous person to help keep its community afloat during the coronavirus pandemic.
Earlham Resident Teddy Nichols read the letter that said, “Earlham resident, during these unusual times with there being so many unknowns an anonymous donor is wanting to help out the community of Earlham in keeping the economy strong. Enclosed you will find gift cards to three local businesses gifted to every household in Earlham.”
549 households received the three gift cards each worth $50.
Earlham Mayor Jeff Lillie said the gift could not have come at a better time.
“For these small businesses, especially the restaurants had they not had this influx of cash I don’t know if they could have sustained,” Lillie said.
The gift cards are from Home Town Market, Trostel’s Broken Branch and West Side Bar and Grille.
West Side Bar and Grille Owner Barbara Brott said she has had to alter her business with new regulations and this is helping her keep afloat.
“We’re a small town, but we have a big heart and that person who or person’s whoever did that they have a big heart and I can’t thank them enough,” Brott said.
Earlham Resident Karren Nichols said the small gesture from the anonymous person means the world.
“I tear up even now. Not only does it help us in this time, but it helping our local community. These stores that are here in this small town that’s all we have to depend on,” Nichols said.
Lillie said he is grateful for the kind gesture and hopes others continue to pay it forward.
“I think it was amazing that they chose these local businesses. They could have just as easily donated to the Food Bank or anything like that, and those places are great also. But hopefully, as a town when this all comes to the end, we will come out may be stronger,” Lillie said.
$84,350 was donated through gift cards to the community.