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Economic Development Articles

5/1/2020 - Economic Development: Southbury Strong

we're all in this together

The signs of the times, “We’re All in This Together” and “Everything Will Be Okay” tell the story.

Across our community we are witnessing selfless examples of people rallying together to support one another in this hour of need. It is remarkable really, these reflections of our humanity at its finest.

The Local Gourmet mobilized to make and deliver lunches to St. Mary’s and Waterbury hospitals. Mercato Italian Kitchen & Bar provided meals to many on the frontlines of the health crisis. Mike Brooks’ Nuclear Chowder created the Facebook group Southbury Eats, providing restaurants an easy way to display their delivery and takeout options. Southbury Plaza donated free storefront space to those with a plan to help the area’s most needy. Arts Escape offered free online instruction allowing our community to be creatively quarantined. The Town of Southbury Senior Services, with the help of the Knights of Columbus and joined by many, including the Southbury Women’s Club, formed the Grocery Brigade for Seniors to shop and deliver groceries to seniors unable. These are just a few of the many examples of the businesses, nonprofits and groups lending a hand, in spite of their own obstacles.

Our neighbors are doing the same. From a distillery manufacturing hand-sanitizer rather than alcohol to a community arts center donating masks to hospitals – organizations are doing what they can. No act of kindness is too small, or too large. If you’re Elon Musk and you own a car company, you switch to manufacturing ventilators by the thousands and provide them for free. Like I said, you do what you can.

Around the world, confined to our homes, people are reprioritizing. We are reevaluating what truly matters to us. In my own household I have seen dinner return to the kitchen table; board games dusted off for family game nights. We have slowed down the frenetic pace of our former lives. We are putting less emphasis in our trust of money and material resources, and instead placing it in others. There may just be a silver lining to this pandemic after all. Even our planet is thanking us for pressing the pause button. After all, the water in Venice is blue again.

For many, this is a desperate and stressful time of uncertainty. But there is hope and support out there.

“For me, talking to people, helping people, is how I get up off the couch each day,” says David Salinas, founder of District New Haven. “I find that by being supportive, both personally and professionally to others, and not worrying about perfection, is what helps me. This is a time for rapid experimentation. Try reinventing yourself. Write your own story.”

Southbury will be stronger after COVID-19. We will dust ourselves off, regain our footing and once again stand tall. But as the pace of regular life resumes, my hope is that we will remember to stop and smell the roses as the old saying goes. That we will continue the practice of pausing, to reflect on all that we have, and those we have, in our lives and, in doing so, appreciate our neighbors maybe a little bit more.

Kevin Bielmeier
Economic Development Director
Town of Southbury
(203) 262-0683

[This article first appeared in Southbury Neighbors magazine.]