October 08, 2013

Shop local. Donate local. Eat local. Drink local.

As published in The Erin Advocate

Working for The Advocate, I’m always reminded that there is a demand for local news. But, with long commutes and an abundance of big box and on-line shopping opportunities, many people find that the idea of shopping locally slides to the bottom of the priority list.

Shopping close to home seems logical, but it can require a shift in habits and perspective. It generally requires a stop downtown and a walk down Main Street. It can lead to chatting with shop keepers and finding stuff you want.

People generally like Erin’s charming atmosphere, but tourist dollars are not enough to keep the downtown vibrant. If you want to see healthier businesses and better selection of merchandise, consider spending money on what we have now, so it can grow.

If everyone who can afford it would spend at least $50 locally during the crucial Christmas shopping season, it would be a welcome boost to the local economy. Not that merchants should get a free ride – they still have to compete with good quality and service. I just think we should give them the opportunity to compete.

The same goes for restaurants. Hillsburgh and Erin have some excellent establishments, from fine dining to fast food.

I thought I’d stop in and have lunch last Friday at the new Prime Rib Bistro at the north end of Erin village beside Tim Horton’s. Unfortunately, I can’t give you a review of the food. There were so many people lined up to order, I could not get in the door, so I guess that is a review of sorts. I’ll be back.

And speaking of local dollars and local food, it’s time to think about supporting East Wellington Community Services (EWCS) with their Thanksgiving Food Drive.

There are a lot of good causes and worthwhile ways to make donations, but feeding hungry people in your own Town has a special appeal. In an unstable economy, a family that can afford to donate today could be visiting the Food Bank not too far down the road.

“EWCS is thankful for the amazing support of those in our community for all of our programs and services,” said Erika Westcott, Manager, Community Services and Volunteers.

The Food Bank has supported 221 Erin families (including 140 kids under 18) from January to the end of August. That is a 13 per cent increase over last year, with 22,322 pounds of supplies distributed.

Go to www.eastwellingtoncommunityservices.com to check out the top items needed by the Food Bank Program – everything from Kraft dinner to shampoo, peanut butter, canned meats and coffee. Food and financial donations can be dropped off at 45 Main Street in Erin, or go to www.canadahelps.org for a convenient way to make a regular contribution.

Or go next door, to the LCBO store (or Foodland in Hillsburgh). Look for the Cabernet Sauvignon or the white Torrontés (both $11.95) from The Little Grape That Could. It is a Toronto based winery selling Argentinean wine, enabling the purchaser to go on-line (www.thelittlegrapethatcould.com) and direct the profits from the sale to a designated charity. EWCS is one of the choices, and it has already brought them $324.

“We decided that every bottle of our wine will carry the name of someone who we want to celebrate or honour,” said Founder Brett Preston. “We want to hear about people that have touched the lives of others, and become a platform for telling their stories. And, when someone drinks a bottle of our wine, we hope they will join in the community and raise a glass to the man or woman on the bottle.”