how to help local communities survive the pandemic

To say this pandemic has been rough for small businesses is the understatement of all understatements. And with the pandemic raging on and cold weather approaching for much of the country, the situation can only get worse. Which is why I can’t stress this enough…It is imperative that we all are helping local communities survive.

I have been trying to make a concerted effort to support my local businesses, but I don’t always succeed. It’s much easier to go on amazon or Chewy and order an item and have it at my door within a few days. But there’s a big reason I try to avoid these clicks…

I want my community to look the same as it did in 2019 when this pandemic is over. I don’t want to walk down our main street and see for lease signs all around. Stopping in at Back 40 Mercantile at the last minute to get a hostess gift makes me very happy. Popping in for Sunday brunch at Le Fat Poodle helps me relax. I don’t want them to go away.

I hope you’ve already been supporting small businesses where you live. But if you’re wondering what you can do, here are some ideas to get you started helping local communities survive the pandemic.

Helping Local Communities Survive the Pandemic

First and most important…

Follow CDC and Local Guidelines

The most important thing you can to help your community survive is to protect them from the virus. Wear a mask, wash your hands, and social distance. Listen to what the medical community and your legislators are telling you to do to protect everyone. Only do what you feel safe and comfortable doing. No need to take unnecessary chances. 

Donate to Charities

Charities are seriously hurting right now. With so many people unemployed or living in uncertainty, the first thing people do is cut back on their charitable giving. Then, you have a lot of volunteers who are in the high risk groups for contracting the virus such as the elderly who are putting a pause on volunteering. So, people who can lend a hand are really needed.

Besides monetary donations, my husband and I volunteer with an organization called Food Rescue US. With so many people going hungry these days and food banks actually running out of food, we are thrilled to be able to give back in this way. 

Get Takeout

While you may be enjoying patio dining right now, that won’t last forever. I can’t imagine not getting restaurant food for the next 5 months. Most restaurants in our area have online ordering and you can even schedule a pick up or delivery time in advance.

Photo credit Le Penguin.

If you can pick up yourself or if the restaurant delivers, do that. If you use one of the delivery apps, the restaurant has to fork out a percentage of their sales. Many are even offering cocktails and bottles of wine to go with the dinner. And don’t forget to tip well even if you get takeout…Seriously, don’t forget to tip well!

Purchase Gift Cards

Many restaurants and businesses sell gift cards. In fact, many of our restaurants were donating a portion of the gift cards to their staffs. They make great gifts for friends and family or you can use them yourself now or sometime later.

Shop Local Stores

I know we’ve gotten used to buying online and yes, it’s so easy and convenient. But it would be a boom to your local businesses if you shopped there. If you don’t want to go inside, I’m sure they will let you order by phone or online and then use outside pick up or maybe they’ll even deliver.

helping local communities survive the pandemic by shopping local

Photo credit Back 40 Mercantile.

Consider getting gifts at local shops even if it costs a few dollars more. As long as you can afford it, it can help keep these businesses stay afloat while we get through this. And that’s good for everyone!

Also, many Farmer’s Markets are still up and running. They would love to see your happy face!

Use Local Services

If you have some odd jobs that you’ve been putting off, now might be a good time to find a handyman to get them done. Maybe you’ve been putting off cleaning the garage or painting that spare bedroom. Also, if you normally groom your own dog, think about giving business to a local groomer. Just make sure to follow pandemic policies to keep everyone safe.

helping local communities survive by using local services

Photo credit Snip Doggy Dog.

Here’s another idea…Clean out closets and if clothes need to be altered or mended before you can wear them, now is the time to take them to your dry cleaners/tailors. These businesses are really suffering.

Lend a Hand 

If you’re able, consider volunteering where needed and reaching out to neighbors who might need assistance.

Ask businesses if you can help them. Your skills could be invaluable to them right now with money being tight. This is something most people would never think of doing, yet you could be a godsend to these businesses. You can even check with your local Chamber of Commerce for ways to help.

Maybe your skills could be used with their website or legal or financial advice applying for assistance. If you have ideas on how they could save money or keep their business up and running during the pandemic, let them know. Then, spread the word to friends about what they can do to help and be sure to use social media!

Memberships

If you can, maintain your memberships in places such as gyms, museums, art centers, and historical societies or consider joining now. Many are offering zoom classes and events, so they are keeping active. Even my boxing gym offers zoom classes for people uncomfortable going inside. This has made keeping up my membership very easy. 

Animals

And last, but certainly not least, we can’t forget our furry friends. I know you have heard the shelters are empty and no animals are available, but that is so not true. There are many animals still languishing across the country in shelters, especially older dogs and certain breeds and especially in certain parts of the country, like the south.

foster pets while you shelter-in-place

If you’ve already tried your local shelters and rescue groups, Petfinder is a great place to start. Then, you can help a local dog trainer by hiring him/her to train your new family member and buy all your pet supplies from your local pet ship!

What are you doing to make sure your local community survives the pandemic?