HUDSON, Wis. (WCCO) — Tropical resorts and Midwestern restaurants are all feeling the economic bite of the pandemic.

It is evident this week as Hudson-area realtors Dana and Jeremy Cudd were supposed to be vacationing with their kids down in the Dominican Republic.

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Instead, the couple cancelled the trip and got a refund. Now they are turning the misfortune into wider community support.

“So we decided to take that money and reinvest it into the community,” Dana Cudd said.

Restaurants and fast food shops are closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But the mandatory social distancing is also causing a punishing economic gut punch.

“It has a major effect on business. So we have to do what we can,” Jeremy Cudd said.

Doing what we can for the couple meant going from small business to small business.

Restaurants such as Hudson’s Agave Kitchen are clinging to life, serving only takeout orders.

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“All of our staff, a lot of us work off tips,” Agave’s Andrea Haffner said.

It is that economic reality which sent Team Cudd throughout River Falls and Hudson, on a mission to turn this hardship into hope.

“So we thought let’s buy gift cards, and not just here in Hudson, but some of the other local businesses in River Falls,” Dana said.

With their $5,000.00 vacation refund the couple purchased 100 – $50 restaurant gift cards. Over the next five days they will hold a contest on their Property Executives Realty Facebook page to distribute the cards to the public.

“These are the businesses that are here for all the fundraisers, to raise money for our community, and they need us now more than ever. So we’re just doing our part,” Jeremy said.

Doing their part by giving lucky families a free meal and small businesses a big boost.

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For more information about the gift card giveaway, click here.