13 ways to use your stimulus check to support Orlando— if you can spare it

Stimulus payments started arriving last week and more are expected this week — you may have received yours already.

And what Orlandoans do with that money really matters as local businesses struggle with the economic impacts of this pandemic. 

According to economists, every dollar spent locally creates a ripple effect in the economy as it circulates from consumers to businesses to workers and back again, helping bolster employment in the process.

If you’re fortunate enough to have something left over after covering the basics, here are 13 ways to keep those dollars close to home:

1. Learn how to make a new meal.

Forget Julia Child. Local chefs are taking their skills to the web. Order “dinner kits” from Chef Bruno Fonseca from the Foreigner Experience (video tutorial and wine included!) or Chef Leon from Elize (the old Rusty Spoon — RIP!).

2. Order dinner to-go.

Dining in is still out, but lots of your favorite Orlando restaurants are still doing takeout or deliveries. Here’s a list of your options from our friends at Orlando Weekly.

3. Pay for music like the old days.

If your favorite local musician had to cancel a show, you can support them by buying their tracks on Bandcamp. Or donate to our local music organizations like Timucua Arts Foundation. You can also check this roundup by Billboard of national and state-by-state resources.

4. Drink local.

Unlike toilet paper and eggs, booze is something you can feel good about hoarding — and many local breweries and package stores are offering delivery or pickup options. Start with this roundup by our Bungalower buddies and this one by Orlando Date Night Guide of participating bars selling to-go drinks. And then tell the folks at Ivanhoe Park Brewing, Whippoorwill, and The Guesthouse that we sent you and we miss them terribly.

5. Pay it forward.

Start with the new Milk Money from the Milk District (spend $7.50, get $10!) or rep your favorite local brand on these tees from the Orlando Merch Store (thanks, Impress Ink). You could also invest in a library card and simultaneously make a donation to Friends of the Library, buy a membership at the Orlando Museum of Art, or make a contribution to the Orlando Science Center.

6. Support local bookstores and local authors.

Shop online or buy a gift card to local bookshops like Writer’s Block, Brandywine Books, Maya Books and Music, Brightlight Books, or Spiral Circle Bookstore. Or grab local illustrator and kid author Ethan Long’s new book: Hello World! (Ethan illustrated one of our other fav kid’s books: My Tio’s Pulse by Keith Newhouse.)

7. Start a craft project.

Macrame Momma is selling these crafty DIY plant hanger kits (and for every one sold, donates one to the Boys and Girls Club) and All Fired Up in Winter Park is selling these cute to-go pottery kits for the whole fam.

8. Order a date-night-in. 

Get to know your partner (or quaranteam) by shopping these adorable locally-made date-your-spouse boxes.

9. Shop local grocers.

Order fresh produce delivered to your door from Orlando Organics, Real Damn Good Food’s Virtual Market (owner of Sanctum and Proper + Wild), and Frog Song Organics. Or shop for produce at Freshfield Farms, Sugar Top Farms, Waterkist Farm, and Southern Hills. For meats, cheese and olives, check Stasio’s Italian Deli, Orlando Meats, and The Ancient Olive.

10. Tell folks you miss them by shopping local makers.

Start with the Made in ORL site. Or shop unique gifts from Good Crowd Shop, buy a plant friend from The Heavy or send flower arrangements from Dahlia’s Flower Truck or Janet’s Dry Humor.

11. Support a nonprofit or economic relief organization.

Local nonprofits are struggling too, some facing layoffs and funding shortfalls at a time of intensified demand for their services — find ways to help by perusing Central Florida Foundation’s website or our roundup here.

12. Show love to your favorite movie theater.

The Enzian is streaming movies here.

13. Become a Pulptown member.

Shameless plug warning! Local publications like ours are really feeling the pinch right now, so if you found this article useful, I hope you’ll consider supporting our work as a Pulptown member. It’s only $8/month ($80/year with code: pulptown_annual), and it goes such a long way. 💖 You can also contribute any amount that works for you here.