Monterey, CA, July 07, 2020 — Kindness Monterey, a campaign initiated to help individuals in need and restaurants that have been challenged as the result of the coronavirus emergency, will soon be launching its website to keep the campaign going.
The campaign was created by local businesswomen Annee Martin and Maren Elwood, and the website, www.kindnessmonterey.com launches Thursday, July 8, 2020, was built by Carmel’s Tracy Hopper of Hopperopolis, a Monterey Peninsula-based marketing communications company (http://hopperopolis.com/)
The pay-it-forward gift card campaign to help Monterey Peninsula restaurants encourages generosity from the community by purchasing these gift cards to give to family, friends, neighbors, musicians, service providers, small business owners, field workers, frontline medical personnel and first responders. Martin believes that not only are you helping restaurants stay alive and letting them know they are loved and supported by their community, but by paying it forward, you are lifting the spirits and hopes of our entire community.
Restaurants will be able to sign up on the website or can sign up now by calling 831-235-7662 or by email at [email protected]
In addition to the website, Martin connected with Kiki Whitman of Kiki Wow Events (https://www.kikiwow.net/), who joined forces with Kindness Monterey to create an online music concert “Monterey Care-A-Thon,” to share the healing power of music by local musicians in an effort to raise donations for local restaurants, support local musicians and feed those in need with the common goal to benefit the community.
Whitman, upon hearing of Kindness Monterey’s vision, saw this as a way to support the community that she has been such an integral part of and will be reaching out to restaurants and sponsors to help get them on board for the campaign. Whitman is a musician herself as well as a producer of music events in the area.
They will create at least two online music events this summer/fall to help raise money to fund the campaign, purchase gift cards for those in need, as well as support struggling musicians who have found themselves unable to perform in public. The dates for these concerts are Sunday, Aug. 2 and Sunday, Sept. 6, 2020.
There is also a related campaign in place to support the Boys & Girls Clubs of Monterey County (BGCMC): For every $1,000 raised, $50 will be donated to the Boys & Girls Clubs to provide weekend grab-and-go meals for 6 children. Martin and Elwood are hoping to find business supporters to help sponsor this campaign. Martin, who founded Sanctuary Vacation Rentals, also plans to purchase gift cards and place one in each of her rental homes for visitors and she is hoping to encourage others to do the same.
The campaign for Kindness Monterey began the way many worthy projects begin, with two good friends sharing an idea for a worthwhile cause. Friends Martin and Elwood were talking about how they missed going out to their favorite restaurants and how they could support them during the pandemic-induced closings and reduced operations. Martin and Elwood believe strongly that our small cafes, restaurants, bakeries, coffeehouses, wineries and food trucks are the anchor and fabric of our community and provide so much more than just food and drink. These are the places where we meet to celebrate, share our human connections and live life to its fullest.
Martin, founder of Sanctuary Vacation Rentals grew up in the restaurant business and was trained as a professional chef for 25 years, she felt the emotional and economic pain that the Covid-19 pandemic was having on restaurant owners, many of whom are friends. She was sad as she read some of the signs posted on closed restaurants and messages on their websites. She also noticed that everything that was being asked of restaurants to be able to serve customer was not sustainable.
Elwood who is a visual anthropologist and small business owner herself, also felt the pangs of her customers, many who also were being challenged financially and emotionally. She would leave small gifts of cheer, such as home-baked goods or flowers from her garden to help brighten their day. She saw that these small acts of kindness really made a difference.
Elwood studies cultures with her video camera. She has been busy during the COVID pandemic helping people with their technology and she will be in charge of working with the local restaurants to make sure people can easily buy gift cards to support these great eateries and people in need. Elwood’s website is: www.onsiteexpeditions.org.
Martin had learned from Executive Director Moe Ammar, that the Pacific Grove Chamber of Commerce had purchased 25 gift certificates from their restaurant members and delivered them to 25 chamber business members who were experiencing hardship due to the COVID-19 health crises. He told Martin that it really lifted their spirits and that he was going to purchase another 25 the following week and deliver them.
Martin was so inspired that she decided to purchase gift cards on her own and gave them to her church to be distributed anonymously to members in need. She continued to purchase gift cards for friends and businesses that were in need of support and cheer. That small but meaningful action inspired Martin and Elwood to start a campaign to purchase gift cards from restaurants and distribute them to those most in need. In that way it would help both restaurants and the recipients of the gift cards, a win-win for everyone.
Martin decided to adopt one of her favorite restaurants, Mezzaluna Pasteria & Mozzarella Bar in Pacific Grove, and began ordering takeout for her family and friends. She would leave love notes and words of encouragement for the owners Amy and Soerke Peters, but knew something more still needed to be done. Since tourists had not been able to visit the area, and with so many local people now on unemployment, she understood that ordering from a restaurant was something people felt they could no longer afford.
Martin mentioned to Elwood that in Santa Cruz County, similar campaigns have been established, some to help businesses that went beyond just restaurants to include small retail and service providers such as massage, nail and hair salons, clothing and gift stores and other small businesses. So they decided to take a hybrid approach so they could begin reaching out to Monterey County restaurants and the community at large to provide a central platform for gift card giving and information. Martin then reached out to Marci Bracco Cain of Chatterbox Public Relations for help in bringing together a team to develop a logo and website and use social media as a platform to spread the word and find sponsors.
Thus the creation of Kindness Monterey (www.kindnessmonterey.com), which continues to grow and expand. While still in its infancy, Kindness Monterey continues to grow and expand with the love and support of the community. Plans are underway to:
· Provide gift cards weekly to the Food Bank for Monterey to distribute them to those most in need.
· Start an Adopt-A-Restaurant campaign to help support customers’ favorite restaurants thru social media.
· Support the Boys & Girls Clubs of Monterey County (BGCMC): For every $1,000 raised, $50 will be donated to the Boys & Girls Clubs to provide weekend grab-and-go meals for 6 children.
· Find individual and business supporters to help sponsor this campaign and to provide matching funds to drive gift card sales. Martin plans to purchase gift cards and place one in each of her rental homes for visitors and she is hoping to encourage others to do similar acts of kindness.
· Organize two online music events called Care-A-Thons scheduled for Sunday, Aug. 2 and Sunday, Sept. 6, produced by Kiki Wow and showcasing local talent. The goal is to help musicians as well to raise money for the restaurant gift card campaign and provide an evening of wonderful music for our community.
The gift cards purchased through Kindness Monterey not only help the individual restaurants, they help those in need of a meal.
Kindness Monterey will continue to provide as long as there is a need in our community. For more information, go to: [email protected]
, like Kindness Monterey on its Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/kindnessmonterey, or call Annee Martin at 831-236-5618; Maren Elwood at 831-238-5503; or Kiki Wow at 831-235-7662. Or, go to the website at: kindnessmonterey.com.
Kindness Monterey Partners
“We would like to express our sincere gratitude to these individuals and businesses
that have helped us build our site, spent numerous hours on research, reached out
to the restaurants and helped get the campaign launched,” said Martin. “We would also like to say thank you “ahead of time” to anyone who is able to help us with the ongoing funding needed to keep the ongoing campaign alive, including the online Care-A-Thon Music Concert Series to help raise monies for our Boys and Girls Club program, Food Bank gift card drive, and support our matching programs.”
For more information about how to offer gift cards and to get assistance setting it up, please contact Maren Elwood at 831-238-5503 or [email protected]
You may also contact Kiki Wow at 831-236-7662 [email protected]
How to sign up to be listed on the www.kindnessmontery.com website:
If you already have a gift card program in place, Kindness Monterey will initially use the gift card link on your website along with a photo or logo of your restaurant to do the launch July 8, 2020.
However, in order to make the gift card program work easier for the purchaser and to give you the best chance for success, Kindness Monterey highly recommend that you sign up for the Square gift card (https://squareup.com/us/en/l/egift-cards) so that the purchaser and recipient will be able to receive the gift card electronically and instantly with no waiting period.
Kindness Monterey recognizes that there may be some instances in which an actual physical gift card is desired and Kindness Monterey will provide instructions on how best to acquire them from the restaurant either in person, online or through the restaurant’s website. Square does offer physical gift cards for purchase as well.
Kindness Monterey is not in any way affiliated with Square, it's just the quickest and easiest solution at this moment.
Here are the advantages to offering gift cards through Square:
Track where the gift cards originate from.
Participate in promotions, for example, to be able to offer a $75 gift card for $60 or 20% off.
Instant delivery: Send to a friend or organization electronically.
Uniform platform for the website.
Allows the most flexibility.
No additional work needed to mail cards.
For more information about the Square program and to get assistance setting it up, please contact Maren Elwood at 831-238-5503 or [email protected]
You may also contact Kiki Wow at 831-236-7662 [email protected]
Marci Bracco Cain
Salinas, CA 93901