Opinion: Commentary: Shop Local and Support Our Neighbors!

Opinion: Commentary: Shop Local and Support Our Neighbors!

Just like every year, COVID-19 or not, the season of thanksgiving is followed by the season of giving. While there will be an even greater tendency to order holiday gifts on-line, it is especially important this year that we support our local and small businesses. 

Harder hit than most may be the businesses located at the Belle View Shopping Center. Truly small, local owned businesses, these owners survived rebuilding from the 2019 fire and continue to persevere through decreased foot traffic due to the pandemic. Whether you are up for a stroll through the shops or ordering a gift card from one of the restaurants, this holiday your purchases will truly help our neighborhood businesses to keep the heart of our community beating. 

Of course, there are also many other local and small businesses struggling in our community, from the Workhouse Arts Center and Gunston Hall, to the Shoppes at Lorton Valley, Saratoga Plaza, Sacramento, Woodlawn and Hollin Hall Shopping Centers, to name a few. I hope you will use your holiday purchases to assist our neighbors and buy more locally.

There are several organizations in our neighborhoods looking for contributions to help those in need. The Mount Vernon Fire Station (as well as all other stations) is collecting new, unwrapped toys, books and games for Toys for Tots until Dec. 13. Community organizations such as United Communities (https://www.unitedcommunity.org/) and the Lorton Community Action Center (LCAC) (https://lortonaction.org/) are collecting for a variety of needs for their clients.

In addition, in lieu of the TEAM MVD annual food drive, it has been brought to our attention that there is a need for diapers of all sizes for babies and young children in our area. Please help us help them by dropping off diapers at our Mount Vernon Government Center office between now and Jan. 5! Any and all sizes welcome.

Looking for a special and unique gift this holiday? Consider making a donation to Save River Farm (https://www.saveriverfarm.com/)! Regular donations to the Northern Virginia Conservation Trust (NVCT) River Farm Fund are fully tax-deductible. 80% of the funds will go to land acquisition, 10% for advocacy related to River Farm, and 10% for administration of the campaign. 

However you choose to give, I wish you a bright, peaceful and merry holiday season!