Communities across the globe are finding ways to connect during various shelter-in-place orders. In the midst of feeling disconnected and stressed, there’s comfort from Italian musicians serenading their neighbors and to the Fort Wayne wavers. Yes, our fair city got a CNN shout-out in March for urging our citizens to go outside at 7 p.m. and wave to our neighbors.
Are you desperate for more ways to connect to one another and support our local businesses during a global pandemic? We’ve got some ideas that can help.
While we’re staying in for safety, our favorite restaurants are struggling. Get carry out or delivery during quarantine. Want to assure your dollar goes to those who need it most? You may already be familiar with the 2GoFW Facebook group (as of this writing, it has more than 32,000 members). If you’re unfamiliar, users share great experiences at local eateries and, if the group sees someone is struggling, it tends to turn up en masse.
One user, in late March, mentioned the appreciative owner at King Gyro when she picked up her lunch and implored the group to support the local sandwich shop; that night, the lines stretched around the building and down the street at the restaurant’s two locations.
And don’t forget—many of the chain restaurants in town are owned by local people, too. So if you’re craving, say a Penn Station cheesesteak, rest assured that your dollars are still helping northeast Indiana.
Commission local art
Full-time artists—those who are supported entirely from their work—are especially struggling right now. Commissioning a piece of art by a local artist you love beautifies your home and supports someone who needs the help.
When commissioning a piece, Dan Swartz, founder and curator at Wunderkammer Company in Fort Wayne, suggests letting the artist have a say in what you order.
“Keep an open mind, and don’t try to steer the ship,” he said. “Let the artist work with you, and make it a collaborative process where they take the lead.”
He also suggested opting for a portfolio purchase instead of one primary piece: Select a number of smaller pieces from a variety of artists. Many offer prints or smaller pieces, which can make this option simpler and/or more affordable for you.
Join a local credit union
Hyper Local Impact, a Fort Wayne consulting firm that prioritizes supporting local, points to the benefits of opening an account at a local credit union: Credit unions are non-profit, unlike for-profit banks, which means their customers get to vote for organization officials. Plus, credit unions usually give higher average returns and lower interest rates on loans than banks.
Tune in to a Facebook concert
One of the reasons we’ll get through this pandemic is because of the wonderful music artists are putting out on social media. Local musician Jon Durnell hosts a Friday Night Fireside “Quarantunes” series, where he accepts requests and tips. 6 Autumns Food & Spirits, in Angola, hosts live concerts on its Facebook page.
Musician Alicia Pyle is fundraising for local musicians on her Fort Wayne Freelance Musician fundraiser SOS Facebook page. As of this writing, she had raised more than $8,200 toward her $10,000 goal. Area musicians play live sessions, and recent performers include singer-songwriter Karen Wehr and pianist Melisa McCann.
Shop local online
Whether it’s time for some personal retail therapy or to find a perfect birthday gift, local options abound. Order flowers from a local florist, opt for a balloon bouquet or select a Cookie Cottage gift basket.
Local women’s boutiques our area let buyers shop online; and Lyn-Maree’s Boutique in Auburn even offers curbside delivery if you shop on its Facebook page.
Don’t forget to celebrate
I was lucky enough witness a car parade on my street in April. It lasted about 15 minutes, with car after car after truck after minivan driving slowly down the street. Most vehicles had people hanging out the window or sunroof with homemade banners and/or balloons.
The parade recipient lived across the street from me, about four or five houses down. I finally caught a glimpse of one of the posters, which had a hashtag. I looked it up and discovered the parade was for a girl who had just finished treatment for leukemia. In fact, WPTA was there taking video.
Even dropping off goodies can make someone feel extra loved. I have an April birthday, and I received a few drive-by treats. Knowing my friends and family were thinking about me, even though we couldn’t celebrate together, went a long way in making the day special.