Shop local, give local good mantra for the season

This time of year reminds us of the importance of two things.
First, giving. During the holidays need comes to the forefront and
reminds us of those less fortunate.
This time of year reminds us of the importance of two things. First, giving. During the holidays need comes to the forefront and reminds us of those less fortunate. St. Joseph’s Family Center and the Salvation Army are two trusted agencies which lend a hand with everything from holiday meals to baby diapers to money for a crushing PG&E bill. Second, the need to shop local.

The two go hand in hand. When you shop local, tax dollars stay local, and local nonprofits and charities benefit from a healthy economy. And, while times are tough, it’s important to give as much as you can. Money helps, but when giving is difficult, volunteering is valuable.

You may have options for giving. Through the holidays, The Dispatch will publish a list of ways to help. Pen a holiday card to the troops, donate a warm coat, give canned goods, or donate a new toy are just a few of the ways.

The benefit of giving is intrinsic. Give and you shall receive a warm sense of satisfaction.

The brick-and-mortar small-business owners represent the backbone of our local economy. Small-business owners are often our friends and neighbors and the people with whom we worship. Due to the struggling economy, the Internet and the presence of large chain retail stores, the futures of many small business here are in peril.

In this “what’s-in-it-for-me?” era, here are some reasons for spending money with local businesses.

– Energy and time conservation. Why drive miles to a mall or when you can likely find what you need only a mile or two away?

– Keep your money and your tax dollars in town. Studies have shown that for every $100 spent locally, $68 stays local. For every $100 spent at a national chain store, only $43 stays local. Sales tax dollars stay local as well, helping city governments pay for basic services.

– Local businesses generate local jobs. Income to those businesses is returned in the form of salaries, which are spent locally as well.

We’re not naive enough to suggest you do all of your shopping locally – those Black Friday ads are appealing. But consider choosing three local businesses you would miss if they closed. Stop in, and buy a holiday gift or two. Then, commit to spending at least $50 per month locally through the year. That’s good for our community.

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