RED LODGE — As Montanans continue to rebuild from the devastating floods earlier this month, the Gift Card Brigade of Red Lodge is helping to ease their burden.
The community has come together and donated $10,000 in gift cards to various stores around Red Lodge and the surrounding areas for victims of the flood to use.
"We didn’t actually raise any money. This is just people, residents, tourists alike going into businesses, purchasing a $50 gift card bringing it to one of the drop places or leaving it in the business to bring in. And then it's just filtered through that way," said Gena Burghoff, the founder of the Gift Card Brigade.
Gena Burghoff , the owner of PREROGATIvE Kitchen in Red Lodge, is one of the masterminds of the community effort, which supports struggling businesses and those who suffered flood damage. The various gift cards were handed out on Wednesday to those who suffered damage.
The cards range from grocery and hardware options to massage appointments and various restaurants.
"The goal is to give people the money for what they want to spend it on. When you’re dealing with a crisis, it’s a struggle to get want to go and buy yourself a new shirt if you need it or a massage to relax after a trauma. So the goal is to get this into the hands of people who maybe wouldn’t spend the money on a massage or something for themselves or go out to eat," added Burghoff.
Victims of the flood gathered from 12 - 2 p.m. to claim a card of their choosing, one for every member of the household. Delaney Stewart was one of the ones affected and thankful for the donation during this time.
"The water in the downstairs area made up to shoulder height. Everything ruined, all the walls had to be ripped out. All appliances done for," she said Wednesday.
The response to this disaster has been amazing and the community coming together is the biggest reason the Gift Card Brigade is possible. However, it's not surprising.
"Red Lodge has always been wonderful when it comes to community. Truly, we always stick together when it comes to time of need," said Stewart.