Chamber launches COVID-19 first responder gratitude campaign

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The Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce announced this week their First Responder Gratitude Campaign to say, “thank you” to hospital workers, emergency first responders and paramedics for risking their own health and safety to care for the community.

The chamber is expected to use 100% of the proceeds of its $30,000 goal to pay for $25 gift cards from local restaurants and retailers that are set to be distributed to 1,200 of those working at local hospitals and health care facilities, who are on the front lines as paramedics and emergency first responders.

“We are eternally grateful for the sacrifices our local first responders have taken to protect all of us. This is just a small token to give our thanks,” Ivan Volschenk, managing partner at Evolve Business Strategies, which manages the chamber, added in the statement. “We believe this gift card program will honor these heroes while providing much-needed support for our local businesses.” 

The concept for the campaign came to the chamber from local resident Janine Cooper Ayres, who was moved by all the first responders have done. 

The chamber evolved Ayres’ idea into the Gratitude Campaign to also support local businesses and began raising funds to launch the campaign.

“I was pleased to put Janine and the SCV Chamber together to bring this grassroots campaign to fruition,” Santa Clarita Mayor Bill Miranda said in a prepared statement. “This campaign is another example of our local SCV Chamber working collaboratively and going above and beyond during the pandemic to support our businesses, first responders and community.  With vaccine distributions underway, now is the time to give thanks to our hospital and medical caregivers who have given more than we will ever know to care for our neighbors and families.”

Sand Canyon Country Club owner Steve Kim has offered to help the chamber meet its goal with a dollar-for-dollar match for every dollar raised up to $15,000.

“Being involved in this grassroots campaign means more to me than just being the lead sponsor for this event. All of our first responders, no matter their sector, deserve to be shown appreciation for their efforts and commitment to serving our community,” Kim said in the statement. “I am asking our community to take part in this campaign and stand with the SCV Chamber to give thanks.”

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