Savings at more than 100 businesses, including more than 25 restaurants in town — these are some of the highlights of the Gold Card booklet offered to Ridgefield residents aged 65 and up. The booklet was recently updated over the summer, the first revision in 5 years.

“It’s great to be a senior in Ridgefield,” said Allison Stockel, executive director of the Ridgefield Playhouse. “We’ve been involved with the Gold Card since it started.”

Senior town residents can get a free Gold Card at the Town Hall information office, along with the updated booklet. Residents need to bring either a driver’s license or Connecticut identification card with a town address.

“It is Ridgefield’s way of thanking senior citizens for their many years of contributions to the Ridgefield community,” explains the Town Hall website.

Residents can also search for Gold Card businesses online at the Economic and Community Development Commission’s (ECDC) website.

New edition

The Gold Card program was developed in 2004 by the Senior Positive Initiative program (SPIF), a town task force headed by Tony Phillips, Director of Social Services.

“We had struggled for several years to get our booklet updated; it takes a lot of manpower,” said Phillips in an email. “It’s a time-consuming effort because each of the 100 businesses needed to be contacted directly.”

“I bumped into an ECDC member in a parking lot one evening on my way to my car,” Phillips explained. “We got into chatting and he asked ‘What else can we do to help?’ So I told him that we'd been struggling to get the booklet edited and reprinted. The message I got in return was unequivocally, ‘We can do that with you! I'll run it by the Commission.’”

Community response

Phillips also said that the town would also provide window decals for businesses, to help residents identify them.

“I do think that [seniors] appreciate the town coming together to offer these programs,” said Stockel. “We work with Ridgefield Crossing and any place that has any kind of senior group, including Founder’s Hall — I love the fact that we can present arts and culture to them, and keep it affordable.”

“My friends use it to go to the movies very frequently,” said Mary Laura Pritchard, a volunteer at Founder’s Hall Senior Center. “We use it in the restaurants — we use it at Piccolo’s; I use it at Ridgefield Hardware, and Bella home — I always ask if they accept the gold card.”

“I’ve found that when I’ve spoken to people that didn’t have the gold card, they are now in the book,” she added. “We use it for all of the football games at RHS, and we use it for Ridgefield High’s theater performances in the spring.”

A town resident of 45 years, she said she’s carried the book with her since the program’s inception.

“It’s just amazing — we ladies carry the book in our cars, in case we wind up somewhere.”