Tired Of Takeout? There Are Other Ways To Support Your Community
If I can do a bit of what the kids are calling a #humblebrag: way back in the early days of the pandemic, I made it TWO MONTHS without ordering take-out or delivery.
This wasn’t necessarily out of an abundance of caution or not wanting to spend (I remember our grocery store was so picked over that I ended up having to eat duck for three days - delicious, but not cheap!). It was a challenge, more than anything - how long could I go?
But then I realized how much that challenge was just about me.
My friends who were working in the restaurant industry were being laid off, and while I wouldn’t pretend to say one person ordering a meal now and again was going to change everything, it was certainly a start.
So I found a balance between cooking marathons and spending more to support nearby restaurants - and all the wonderful people within - during a difficult time.
Fortunately, those times are changing again, but I’ve been left wondering:
How can I do more for my community than just order take-out?
While restaurants are a big part of our neighborhoods, they’re not everything. And it shouldn’t take a pandemic to make us realize that community is what we make of it.
So in that vein, here are a few ideas on how to play a part in your community, even when you feel like cooking for yourself:
Buy books online - Even with the freedom to move around, sometimes we get a case of the lazies. Don’t worry - even if you’re staying in, you can still support your local bookshop through online orders, too (just resist the siren song of the 1-Click Order). Bookshop makes it easy to get books shipped straight to you and to discover some new local gems for when you’re ready to slip on a real pair of shoes.
Leave reviews - Think about the last time a local review led you to your new favorite nursery or board game café. Now when was the last time you dropped a positive review for a place you care about? A fresh review could be just the thing that turns a passerby into a recurring customer, helping to keep that board game café’s lights on (so you can get your Settler of Catan fix whenever you need it!)
- Go shopping (even for gift cards!) - One of the best ways to support a small business in your community is the simplest: just use them! And while generic gift cards are not always the most popular gift, ones that come handpicked from stores the recipient goes to are a simple way to keep the community thriving.
It’s been easy to slip back into our customs and our habits, back to the happy hours we missed and to the happy hours we missed out on. But as we rediscover our personal communities, making room for the extended communities that make our towns and cities special is worthwhile, too.
(And not just because I need a place to play Settlers of Catan.)
How about you? How are you supporting your favorite local haunts and hangouts?