FALMOUTH — A local company is looking to give back to first responders by connecting them with local businesses.
Code Gratitude, a for-profit clearinghouse, helps members of law enforcement, fire and EMS, the military, and military veterans find discounted goods and services.
Shannon Moss, a former Portland television news reporter who is married to a police officer, said she came up with the idea a few summers ago when she and her family were shopping at a store and, by chance, discovered the store offered a first-responder discount. Two months later her family was at a hotel in Massachusetts, which offered a similar discount.
“I thought ‘how come we don’t know about these?'” she said.
The company now has about 50 businesses on board, ranging from automobile businesses, restaurants, cinemas, website design, hotels, insurance, real estate companies and more.
“It’s gratitude marketing,” Moss said.
Christine Toriello is one of the business owners who participates in Code Gratitude; she met Moss a few months ago when she heard about the program. Toriello’s husband served in the U.S. Air Force and Maine Air National Guard.
“I’m always passionate about projects that support men and women in uniform,” she said.
Toriello’s business is a a wellness nutrition business called Reliving Maine, which sells vitamins and supplements, and works with people on their performance and nutrition. Toriello said Reliving Maine offers a free customer account and a 10 percent discount on all items for a year to first responders.
“It’s marketing that makes a difference for businesses, they can let first responders and those in uniform know how they feel,” Toriello said.
Toriello said while she has worked with veterans’ causes in the past, she never knew businesses offered discounts to first responders. She said being able to offer something that makes the lives of those individuals even a little better is something she is grateful for.
“Our men and women in uniform never asked to be thanked,” Toriello said. “It’s just a good reminder we should all be thankful.”
Moss said there is a $250 registration fee for a business to join Code Gratitude, or a $200 for businesses owned by first responders or veterans. Ten percent of the funds go towards a Code Gratitude scholarship fund, which will be given to high school seniors around the state who are either joining the military or are planning to study subjects like criminal justice or fire science, or plan to go into other “protector careers.”
Moss said Code Gratitude is designed to be a win for first responders as a way to thank them for their service, but also for businesses as a way to promote themselves.
“This is a great way to recognize their service and sacrifice and, at same time, help local businesses,” Moss said.
Code Gratitude connects veterans, law enforcement members, and other first responders with businesses that offer discounts on goods and services.
Shannon Moss, center, of Falmouth, began Code Gratitude as a way to connect first responders with local businesses that offer discounted goods and services.