Also partnering with Big Sky Medical Center and Gallatin City-County Health Department, Big Sky Relief’s goal is to thank those already vaccinated and encourage those who have not got a shot yet to find a clinic or appointment. PHOTO COURTESY OF BIG SKY RELIEF

Thank you & encouragement

Big Sky Relief sponsors vaccine incentive program

Big Sky Relief formed as the pandemic progressed last year to help the community through the challenges of quarantines, Stay at Home directives and shortages. Now, the organization put together by the Yellowstone Club Community Foundation (YCCF), the Moonlight Community Foundation, the Spanish Peaks Community Foundation and the Big Sky Resort Area District are moving to the next phase of the pandemic—vaccinations.

“We felt supporting vaccine distribution is really one of the next steps in fighting this pandemic and getting our community back to operating in a healthy, safe and economically sustainable way,” Ciara Wolfe, vice president of philanthropy for YCCF, said. As of June 7, 52% of Gallatin County residents were fully vaccinated and 38% of Madison County.

Wolfe mentioned other parts of Gallatin County and places throughout the country—a lottery for two, full-year scholarships to any West Virginian institution for kids ages 12 to 25 or free Girl Scout cookies in Indiana—started offering a variety of incentive programs, and for Big Sky, it felt like the perfect time. The idea for starting the incentive program now is inspired by protecting locals before the onset of the summer tourism season by encouraging people to get vaccinated and supporting those who already have.

Big Sky residents who are fully vaccinated may bring their vaccine card to either Beehive Brewery or ACRE Kitchen to redeem a free beer or free coffee. Vaccinated residents may only choose one location and receive one beverage through July 1, indicated by a stamp on their vaccine card after redemption.

“Last week I talked to Beehive Basin and they had given out 171 beers,” Wolfe said, noting that that is 171 Big Sky residents who are fully vaccinated, and it was in just the first week of the incentive program.

William McCormick, executive chef at ACRE Kitchen, said there has not been a ton of interest in the free coffee option yet, perhaps because people are still learning about the incentives or because beer just tends to be more of a draw.

“It’s definitely something that we’re excited about,” McCormick said regardless.

The other part of the incentive is a giveaway in partnership with Big Sky Resort.

Fully vaccinated locals may bring their vaccine card to the Big Sky Resort Area District office to get a stamp and fill out a raffle ticket. Winners have the chance at one of the four options: A Big Sky Resort 2021 season golf pass with a cart; a Big Sky Resort 2021 Mountain Bike Haul Pass; a Big Sky Resort 2021-2022 Double Black Diamond Season Ski Pass; or a $50 gift card to one of the following locations—ACRE Kitchen, Tips Up, Lotus Pad, Grizzly Outdoors, East Slope Sports, Gallatin Alpine Sports, Caliber Coffee or the Taco Bus.

The raffle runs until July 31 and a winner will be drawn each week.

“We chose to support a lot of our local restaurants and eateries and drinkeries because we recognize they’re the ones that had so much restriction for the longest amount of time here in Montana,” Wolfe explained. Plus, she pointed out, the prizes are pretty universal—any age and any type of family could have some fun with any of the options.

Prizes are funded through Big Sky Relief, which has been supported by individual donors since its inception. These donors allowed for the community surveillance testing program to run and for grants to be given to nonprofits or local businesses when everything was shut down. Each community organization and various community members also contributed to the fund.

Since announced, Wolfe provided that other community members have stepped up to offer prizes, a major one being Big Sky Build—four, free hot air balloon rides are now up for grabs. Things like that are just fun, Wolfe said, and another example of how the community keeps coming together even after the depths of the pandemic in the next phase of recovery.

“Nobody should feel bad for going to get a coffee or beer on us or winning a raffle item,” Wolfe said.

This is Big Sky Relief’s thank you and a little pick-me-up for just about anyone.

COVID-19 vaccines are available for individuals age 12 and up at Big Sky Medical Center (bozemanhealth.org/vaccine). Vaccines.gov can also be used to find nearby vaccine locations.

Visit YCCF's website here: https://www.loc8nearme.com/montana/bozeman/yellowstone-club-community-fo...

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