(Note: This post was written by Laurel Regan (pen name Dawn Storey) and originally published in Windsor Square on April 3, 2012.)
Between high unemployment numbers, layoffs and cutbacks, worrisome population statistics, and local businesses closing (and taking jobs with them), it can be difficult not to get discouraged about our current economic situation and prospects as a city. As well, it can be particularly frustrating when you, as an individual, realize just how little (if any) control or influence you have over these statistics and occurrences.
You may not be able to do everything, but you can certainly do something.
I’ve always been a firm believer in the impact of many people working together in small ways to accomplish big things. I also maintain that the value and importance of everyday, individual decisions and lifestyle choices cannot be overstated.
So, operating from that standpoint, how can we as individuals contribute to making Windsor a better place? One important strategy may be summed up in two words:
Chains and big box stores have their place and their purpose, but imagine the positive effect it would have on our local economy (as well as on the character of the city) if every Windsorite (yes, that means you!) decided to invest some of their time and money into finding and regularly supporting locally owned and operated small businesses in the community.
Not sure where to start? Neither was I, but as I settle into my new home I’m exploring the city and documenting my findings in my blog. I’ve written about several of the local businesses I’ve encountered along the way (or plan to check out in the future) – I invite you to visit my blog and follow along!
Want a fun and meaningful way to get involved? Consider joining up with a brand new local group that recognizes the importance of supporting local businesses – Ca$h Mob Wind$or! From their web site:
Ca$h Mob Wind$or is a grassroots community organization that aims to support locally owned businesses. Ca$h Mob Members (known as Mobsters) pledge to spend at least $20 (more if they wish) once a month at a locally owned business to support the local economy. Mobsters gather first at the meeting spot announced via Facebook or word of mouth. At the meeting spot an announcement is made to which establishment they will Mob with their $20 …or more. Friendships are formed, laughter is heard and hugs are abound. It feels great!
To stay up-to-date with the group’s activities, follow Ca$h Mob Wind$or on Facebook.
Another way to support the community is to stay informed and spread the word about low- or no-cost ways you can contribute to various local societies and charitable organizations. As one example, this month a simple click on the “Like” button of the Windsor/Essex County Humane Society’s Facebook page could be worth $1 to them. From the Humane Society:
…the Howard Johnson Plaza Hotel in Windsor (a pet-friendly hotel!) has offered to donate $1 for every new person who “Likes” our Facebook page from today until the end of April (to a maximum of $1,000). Please “like” our page to help us get the largest donation possible!
So many organizations have Facebook pages and Twitter accounts, and they use them to share ways (such as the one above) that you as an individual can get involved. Take the time to find these local groups, “Like” or follow them, and pay attention to what they have to say!
Sometimes money is short, but time is plentiful. Consider sharing some of that time by volunteering for a local community group or organization. The Windsor-Essex County Volunteer Centre Database is a good place to look if you’re not sure who might need your help.
Windsor is a great place to live! I’ve been here for five months now, and despite the challenges the city is facing I believe that Windsorites have the spirit, strength, and ability to make a difference.
What will YOU do?