Supporting Local Businesses, Charities

We’ve rounded up a few resources designed to help people support local American businesses during the current, widespread corona-lockdown. Some ideas and resources for supporting the small-biz hospitality and other industries include…

Gift Cards
OpenTable can help you pay it forward with gift cards. Or you can call restaurants directly to see if that’s an option. No need to limit it to places near where you’re “locked down”… You’ll travel once the clamp-down passes, yeah? There are restaurants to help keep afloat there (wherever that may be) that offer cards. You’ll need to eat something, and the vacation budget benefits when the tab’s already been paid. Good time to pay forward.

Order Delivery Directly
Going through food-delivery services like GrubHub or Yelp can add a fee that, while helping the delivery driver (and GrubHub or Yelp) may undermine your ability to tip the local restaurant as much as you’d like. Consider taking the extra step and calling up the business directly for a delivery order. Then consider tipping generously, if you can.

Support Food Banks
… by donating or volunteering. Food banks have been hit hard as peoples’ incomes dry up; many are operating in drive-through mode. Feeding America has established a Covid-19 Response Fund (currently at that link).
It’s a newly formed lobbying group representing “local, independent restaurants.”

Microloans allow you to lend small amounts of money to small businesses and individuals around the world (or just in your neighborhood). We’ve been using Prosper for years, not as some financial juggernaut but for asset diversification. It may provide an especially useful platform for that purpose now, supporting all kinds of small businesses in the lurch. Do your own credit analysis.

Feed the Fight
This effort prepares meals for emergency workers and accepts donations through Venmo (contributions should be addressed to @elena-tompkins). If you use Venmo, we suggest setting your profile to “Private” for security reasons: Just go to “Settings” and select “Private”; you’ll then be asked if you’re sure about this setting (sigh). You are.

… is offering “I Will Survive” deals with discount code STOCKYOUUP. It’s good jerky (review coming in the distant future, after eating our way through our large pre-crisis stash) and lasts a long time. It’s jerky. (Exotic Sausages, too, most of which contain added pork.)

Not everyone has the financial resources at hand to “spread the wealth” at the local level, from consumers or savers to small businesses, right now; others do. That’s what this post is about. Nothing herein constitutes an investment recommendation: There are thousands of potential borrowers on Prosper, for example; we vouch for precisely none of them. So do your own research and make your own decisions. But even adding your e-mail address to’s distribution list, for example, increases its reach.

So consider reaching out, volunteering or settling up in advance, and please let us know if there are resources you think we should add to those above.

♦ Some (free online content) ways to stay sane
National Emergency Library
♦ KFC isn’t a local business but each individual franchise is. The company’s donating a million free pieces of chicken nationwide through local chains. I’d bite; wherefore art thou, Popeye’s?
Spirited Virginia Newsletter, with some content-pairing ideas and links to virtual distillery tours
♦ “The Sauce of the Middle Ages“; TLDR: In the first half the 20th century, a grandson of the Worcestershire-sauce family put the fortune to use collecting, preserving and cataloging rare manuscripts from the Middle Ages. Only the finest. Pass the sauce.

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