Open Letter: Mayor Curtatone Urges Somerville Residents to Shop Local and Donate This Holiday Season

"Our neighbors and our local businesses need us to donate generously and shop with intention. This year our holiday spirit needs to be filled with community spirit. We need a season of unity." -Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone

Every year we put out a call for Somerville residents to shop local during the holiday season. It’s a good practice that keeps your money circulating inside your community. Directing our spending money to local businesses is something each of us can do to make the world around us a better place. The local economy plays a big role in our quality of life. 

Yet, in a year where we have been gripped by a pandemic, it is vital that we seek out ways to spend locally and to donate to local charities. For those of us who have some money in our pockets, keeping our spending local has never been more important. There are good, longtime, otherwise stable businesses in our city that have been laid low during this recession. There are local artists and craftspeople who have missed out on nearly a year’s worth of markets and events where they can sell their work. The holiday season traditionally is when many of them make the money that helps sustain them through the rest of the year, and if we want to keep them around for the future they’re going to need our support during this next month. 

I know we have a reason to be hopeful with the recent news about vaccines, but it is still a way to go before those vaccines become available for the general population. Before we get there we may see a rollback of some of the state’s reopening phases. Case numbers are spiking all over our region and hospitalizations are rising dramatically. We may not yet have seen the worst coronavirus can dish out, and that includes its adverse effect on local business.

If you can’t get into a store, seek them out online. The decisions you make about where you spend your holiday money will have real-world implications in terms of what’s open around where you live in 2021.

Also, the need for charitable giving has never been higher. This would be a fine year to direct more of your holiday spending to charity. We have people in our city who are struggling to feed their families and maintain their housing. The need is pressing. We have established the Somerville Cares Fund (www.somervillema.gov/somervillecares) to help address these pressing needs, but we’re far from alone in providing help to the community. If you have a favorite local charity, give them extra. If you don’t have a favorite local charity, there’s never been a better time to pick one.

We are in a crisis and the way we pull through a crisis is by standing together. Our neighbors and our local businesses need us to donate generously and shop with intention. This year our holiday spirit needs to be filled with community spirit. We need a season of unity.

-Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone