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Stimulus dollars could help local eateries, workers

Among the loveliest of developments in recent years has been our local restaurant scene. We’re not talking about the chain restaurants that have popped up in certain areas, but the locally owned food and drink establishments that specialize in their craft, whether it be a fine dining experience, food from around the world, a microbrewery or a corner coffee roaster or specialty drink shop.

You will find these in communities throughout the region. They are part of what we think of when we think of home, in the broader sense of the word.

The people who operate these businesses have become familiar faces — friends even — and many of them are struggling right now.

Make a trip to Hughesville where you’ll find freshly juiced fruits and vegetables in healthy but delicious concoctions, then head to Muncy for some tasty Greek treats.

Drive through Montoursville and take note of the variety of homey offerings along Broad Street.

Stroll through downtown and just try to narrow down the selections, from Irish fare to Thai food, from Italian to Mexican, from pizza and burgers to barbecue and ribs.

Think back to date nights of not that long ago and breaking bread at any one of our unique dining establishments and feel the warmth again. Remember all of the people dining at tables and booths within arms reach … remember what it was like when you encountered old friends and made new ones while out and about.

Today those are memories.

Today the bustle we recall has been quieted, if not darkened.

Much has been said about donating federal stimulus checks to area food pantries to help feed those who are struggling after being suddenly unemployed, a worthy and noble idea.

Yet there’s one area of the food industry that has not received as much attention, and that’s our small businesses that long have fed us.

Now they are among the struggling. Will these businesses be able to withstand the pandemic’s wrecking ball?

One action that many of us could take right now is to use those stimulus checks to order food for pickup or, where available, delivery from our local businesses. We have the power to give them the boost they need to ride out the storm.

So what’s on the menu tonight? And remember your servers too. We suggest that you reflect your desire to see these workers survive with a sizeable tip.

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