Iowa's Madison county is already well-known for the popular movie filmed there in 1995, "The Bridges of Madison County", now it's back in the news, because of its shining example of "Iowa nice" as the COVID-19 crisis continues.

An anonymous person in the small town of Earlham, about 30 minutes west of Des Moines, is doing their part to help out some local businesses and put some smiles on faces of the town's residents. Mayor Jeff Lillie said he was contacted by a man acting as a "go between" him and the donor. The man said the donor "wanted to pump some money into the local economy".

Courtesy - Jeff Lillie

The donor ended up buying $150 gift cards for ALL 549 households in Earlham. Each household received an envelope in the mail containing three $50 gift cards to West Side Bar and Grille, Hometown Market and Trostel's Broken Branch. If you do the math, the donor spent just over $82,000. So each business will receive over $27,000. Plus, residents can buy some groceries, get some take-out food and look forward to dining at a new restaurant! The donation was especially helpful to Trostel's Broken Branch, because the restaurant was about to start up just before the governor ordered restaurants to end dine-in service. The owners hadn't even hired a full staff yet and wasn't ready to offer takeout. So, now they'll be ready, when the "stay at home" rules get lifted.

Lillie also said in the Des Moines Register story, "If people do not want to use their gift cards or if they can't for any reason...the cards will then be given to families in the Earlham Community School District". So, the town is going to "pay the gift forward"...now that's "Iowa nice".

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