Essential workiers

Sandy Richardson delivers $10 gift cards to essential workers in Green Valley and Sahuarita. Richardson keeps her social distance from Sahuarita Police Sgt. Michael Blevins.

Keep an eye out for the "masked" essential hero volunteer. She's out delivering gift cards to workers around Green Valley and Sahuarita.

Sandy Richardson is part of a three-person group taking donations and handing out gift cards to those still going into work every day during the coronavirus lockdown.

Fellow volunteers Pamela Everett and Karin Tobiason started the group with a late-night question and a little wine.

The trio wondered how restaurants could thrive during what should be their busy season as COVID-19 keeps dining rooms closed and customers at home.

Everett is the general manager at the franchise-owned Denny's on Nogales Highway. She took the idea and ran with it, enlisting a handful of volunteers and collecting $350 in 24 hours, which they used to distribute $10 gift cards.

Tobiason said buying gift cards from your favorite local restaurants to distribute to valued service providers is a way the public could support their community.

Now, the group has collected $630 in $10 gift cards since April 9. And Richardson has delivered them to workers at Ace Hardware, Sahuarita's post office, Fry's gas station, Wells Fargo, Brake Masters, Brake Max, Green Valley Fire District and the Sahuarita Police Department.

"Many have already asked to buy gift cards to be personally handed out to their favorite cashiers, postal delivery, newspaper delivery, home-care attendants, helpers, etc.," Tobiason said.

Tobiason said they plan to continue taking donations and delivering gift cards until the outbreak is over. Contact Everett at if you want to donate.

Jorge Encinas | 520-547-9732