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As We See It: Support your community this holiday season

The COVID restrictions are back, and that means that local businesses and local charities, both already hit hard this year by the virus, are in need of your support more than ever. 

The holidays are traditionally an important time for both. Many businesses count on the holiday shopping season to keep their doors open the rest of the year. Likewise, charitable organizations usually see their highest contributions during this season. With more people staying closer to home, however, it’s easier to skip those fundraisers – if they’re not canceled altogether. 

It’s also much easier to go ahead and do your holiday shopping online with Amazon or Walmart.com. 

Before you do that, however, we’re asking you to take a step back and consider doing your part to support the people who live in the communities we all call home. We’re not going to deny the convenience of online shopping, or even ask you to eschew online shopping altogether. 

What we are going to do is ask you to make a special effort to mask up and participate in events like Small Business Saturday. This annual event, a local counterpoint to the big box store consumer insanity that is Black Friday, is still going on despite the pandemic. The number of folks allowed in the stores may be smaller, and you may have to take pains to maintain social distancing and wear your masks, but the items you buy mean a lot more to those local businesses than your online purchases do to the Walton family or Jeff Bezos. 

Some of these local shops and businesses may even allow you to purchase gifts or gift certificates online for pickup before the holidays, just like the big businesses do. For instance, we’re buying locally roasted Goose Bridle Coffee for some of the folks on our Christmas list. We can’t think of a better gift than a hot mug of delicious, fresh roasted coffee, and roaster Will Stevens will let you pay online with mail delivery, or contactless pick-up. 

Check out their Facebook pages and web sites to see if your favorite local retailer has an online purchase option. Most will be more than willing to work with you to keep your business. 

When it comes to local charities, we can’t think of any group more deserving of your support than Project Merry Christmas (PMC). This charity, which works with the school family resource centers to identify children in need, expects to assist over 300 families this year. They’ll purchase toys, warm clothing, and books for the children, and provide food vouchers to the families. The cost for this is expected to exceed $30,000 just as it does every year. 

But events like church services, which take up collections for PMC, aren’t being done in person this year. Instead the Thanksgiving service at Bayless Presbyterian is going virtual, and they are taking up a collection via cell phone. Those interested in helping support the charity can text “PMCgift” to 888-444-8774. That will connect you to a portal where you can make a donation. 

Another of the regular PMC fundraisers that isn’t going on this year is the Grayson Area Chamber of Commerce banquet auction. Instead the Grayson Rotary Club stepped in to pick up the slack with an online auction. While that online event will have already ended by the time we go to print, we commend the Rotary Club for stepping up in this time of need and raising in excess of $3,000 for the charity. 

If you want to do your part to help PMC, which we strongly encourage you to do, you can make donations to the group at either the Commercial Bank of Grayson or First National Bank. You may also send donations through the mail to: Project Merry Christmas, P.O. Box 166, Grayson KY, 41143. 

Please, do your part this holiday season to support our local businesses, and the families impacted by the economic downturn resulting from this virus. Just because we can’t gather together doesn’t mean we aren’t still a community. Now, more than ever, we need the support that being a part of that community brings. 

Happy Thanksgiving, and God bless. 

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