Glenwood councilor’s pay-it-forward effort takes wing

Gift card project provides a little holiday cheer for struggling businesses

Difficult discussions of late around the plight of local restaurants and other businesses that are dealing with COVID-19 restrictions got recently appointed Glenwood Springs City Councilor Ingrid Wussow thinking.

Now, what started as a personal goal to use the monthly council stipend she receives to buy gift cards from local businesses and give them out to people she knows has grown into a larger pay-it-forward effort.

“I was simply trying to do anything in my independent power to support my friends and community members,” Wussow said.

She wasn’t looking for any notoriety, or anything, simply sharing it out on her personal Facebook page that she was giving away 10 gift cards a day at $10 each leading up to the Christmas holiday until her $800 council check ran out.

Earlier this year, after asking city workers to take a 10% pay cut that ended in August, council took a 20% cut in their monthly stipend, given the economic impacts of the pandemic. That reduction remains in place.

After hearing about Wussow’s efforts, first Glenwood attorney and recent state House candidate Colin Wilhelm and then other community members stepped up to match a day’s worth of gift cards, she said.

Also among them was one of the impacted restaurant owners, Travis Owen, executive chef and owner of the New Riviera Supper Club.

“Ingrid contacted me about getting some gift cards, and I just thought it was something that, with all the confusion and polarization this has caused, it just seemed that something like this might help bring people together,” Owen said.

Other councilors also then agreed to give part of their monthly council paycheck toward the effort.

“I now have every member of council agreeing to sponsor a day in the coming weeks to continue the giving,” Wussow said.

“While we’re not in a position to support every business … we truly care about local businesses and want to help these local business that are struggling in challenging times. It’s great to see people willing to share in the spirit of giving.”

In addition to supporting the gift card effort, Owen is also gearing up to provide free take-home meals to anyone in need on Christmas Eve.

“Just give me a call (945-7692),” he said. “As long as I have the order in by Wednesday.”

Owen said he would also graciously accept any donations to help defray the costs of the Christmas meals.

It seems a lot of pleas for help are being answered this holiday season, in particular, Owen said.

“Everywhere you turn on some of the swap sites you see messages from people in need, and almost within minutes someone is there to help,” he said. “It’s just really heartwarming to see everyone come together in this difficult time.”

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