Many of us right now are struggling with how to manage the change to our lives, but we also want to do what we can to help and support others. We all hope that our favorite food producers, distilleries, wineries, food carts, and restaurants will be open again, so that we can go in, order from a menu, sit at our favorite table, and high-five our favorite server. But until then, there are some ways that you can support local food and beverage businesses right now.
Yes, hopefully you are stocked up in your pantry and freezer, and maybe you’re even cooking and baking more at home. But when the dishes pile up too much, call ahead for takeout. This is the most immediate thing you can do to help local food carts and restaurants keep their doors open. Many of them have retooled their menu so that the takeout food travels well.
If you order from a delivery service like Grubhub and DoorDash, that also provides income to the drivers. Seamless and Grubhub have created relief funds for their drivers and restaurants, so you can feel good that your money is going even farther.
Local farms, distilleries, wineries, and breweries are keeping their doors open for curbside pickup as well, so you can supplement the rations from your pantry with great food and beverages from your community. You can even order desert!
Buy Gift Cards
For those restaurants or food carts that aren’t open for takeout, try purchasing gift cards online. Businesses need cash right now, and this helps them now and you later, because you can use the gift card when they’re ready for normal business again. Some places are offering bonuses for gift card purchases, such as Eugene’s Ambrosia restaurant, which is offering gift cards at a 20% discount.
Consider the option of purchasing a gift card for an at-risk neighbor, a first responder, or a teacher you know. Purchase gift cards for your self-isolating friends who may need a pick-me-up in their day.
Yes, you can order online anytime, from anywhere, but think local now. You may not need take-out or a filled growler, but perhaps you could use a hoodie from your favorite brewery, a membership to your favorite local wine club, or a tote bag or hat from your favorite coffee roaster.
Many Oregon wineries are offering free or discounted shipping and reduced prices on bottles. Check out your favorite restaurant with a well-stocked wine list, as we’ve seen a few, including Eugene’s Cafe Soriah and Marche, that are offering 50% off bottles from their wine list with take-out orders.
You can help directly by donating. Food banks and pantries around the country are reporting a staggering increase in need. The Oregon Food Bank, which has 21 regional food banks and 1,400 food assistance sites across the state, reported a dramatic 20% to 60% increase in requests for food across Oregon and Southwest Washington.