Alexandria's 'Cutest Couple' gives back

Part of their prize was donated to Someplace Safe of Douglas County.

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John Richards and his wife, Diane Jamison-Richards (left) donated a $200 Elden's Fresh Food gift card, which they had won in the Cutest Couple photo contest, to Someplace Safe of Douglas County. The local advocates (left to right), Kalyn J., Leigh N. and Susan K. were very thankful for the gift. (Celeste Edenloff / Echo Press)

Back in February, John Richards and his wife, Diane Jamison-Richards, won the Echo Press Cutest Couple photo contest.

The Alexandria couple, who are in their 70s, garnered 2,088 votes, raising $522 for Someplace Safe. Diane said one of the main reasons for entering the contest was that it was a fundraiser for Someplace Safe.

As the winning couple, part of their prize was a $200 gift card to Elden's Fresh Foods.

But Diane and John said there are others out there who need it more than they do. So, the couple decided to take the gift card and give it to Someplace Safe so that it could be used for people in need.

"We are extremely grateful as this will make an impact on our clients," said Susan K., a crime victim advocate at Someplace Safe of Douglas County. "It's just phenomenal as eating is a basic need."


John and Diane said they talked about what to do with the gift card and knew that Someplace Safe could use it.

"It's what we wanted to do," he said.

Leigh N., another crime victim advocate, said that she recently had a client with an emergency housing situation and Someplace Safe helped her find a place. The organization was also able to provide her with an Elden's gift card like the one the Richards' donated.

"If we wouldn't have been able to provide her with that card, she would have gone hungry for a few days as she didn't have any money," said Leigh, who was also very grateful for the donation.

The Cutest Couple photo contest raised a total of $1,756.25, which was donated to Someplace Safe of Douglas County. There were 28 couples in this year’s contest, which was sponsored for the third year in a row by the Echo Press, Elden’s Fresh Foods and Willy T’s Tavern.

Celeste Edenloff is the special projects editor and a reporter for the Alexandria Echo Press. She has lived in the Alexandria Lakes Area since 1997. She first worked for the Echo Press as a reporter from 1999 to 2011, and returned in 2016 to once again report on the community she calls home.
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