This holiday season is sure to be strange and unorthodox and it may be difficult to imagine the usual comforts of Christmas dinner and gift giving. But the rise in COVID-19 has provided an opportunity to reinvent how we celebrate this holiday season; it has created an opportunity to give in other ways.

Here are just a few ways you can give to your local community during this coming holiday season:

Donation campaigns

Donating time, money or food items is a simple and easy way to help out your community. In response to the pandemic, the Laramie community joined in solidarity and created the COVID Relief Fund. All donations support micro grants for small business suffering economic hardships and other needs within the community.

In addition , the Laramie Police Department and the University of Wyoming Police, Wyoming Highway Patrol, Albany County Sherriff’s Office and School District will be hosting the very first Shop with a Cop program. Funding comes from donations from community members and businesses. A

Walmart gift card will be gifted to children in need. For more information: visit cityoflaramie.org/HOLIDAYDONATIONS.

Albany County School District 1 and Laramie Fire Stations adopted three families this season and will be accepting donations now until mid December to purchase necessities, toys and food items. Donations are accepted at any three fire station locations. For more information: cbridgmon@cityoflarami.org

Shop small during Laremie's Small Business Week

Purchasing goods from locally-owned business supports longevity by circulating money through a community. During this holiday season, small businesses are encouraging residents to shop small by extending the Laramie Small Business Saturday through the whole week. This allows shoppers the chance to purchase holiday gifts and meals safely while enjoying holiday sales all while supporting their local business. Small Business Saturday begins on Plaid Friday and end Dec. 5.

Shop at your butcher

Instead of purchasing your holiday ham at Safeway, Ridley or Walmart this year, take advantage of Wyoming-born and raised beef, pork or lamb. Buying from a butcher can be just as affordable as buying at a grocery store and you get a more exact cut. Grocery stores also have limited selections in cut options; butchers have a much larger selection of meat products allowing for creative and scrumptious holiday meals.

Kids home for dinner

Feeding Laramie Valley (FLV) FLV is offering free to-go fresh homemade meals with a fun activity now until Dec. 18. Due to rapid spread of COVID-19, donations are needed now more than ever. Help FLV this season by donating Shares bags which provides enough fresh food for about three days. For more information: 307-223-4399

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