My Generations column today features a local retiree, like me, and a local hairdresser who is currently out of work because of the coronavirus shutdown.

My husband and I have commented several times in the past few weeks that it’s a good time to be healthy, financially OK, and retired. I’ve never been so happy to be on a fixed income. We fully realize how fortunate we are. We do not have to worry about being out of work because, by choice, we already are.

But many are not so fortunate -- like the workers and small businesses in our area that have had to shut down or make major changes during this difficult time. Some of their stories were featured in Wednesday’s Pioneer.

We know this shutdown will last at least a few more weeks, but there are things we can do to help our neighbors who are facing economic challenges right now.

We miss visiting our local stores, gathering in our local bars and restaurants, and getting services -- like haircuts -- (and many more), but we know we’ll return to those places once this is over.

So, here’s my suggestion: Contact your local businesses right now by phone, on Facebook, online or any other way you can. See if you can purchase gift cards that can be redeemed later. I bet you can. If everyone who can afford to do so selects one, two, three or however many businesses you can and purchases one, two, or three or however many gift cards you can, a lot of our favorite people will feel supported and will be supported through this tough time. If they’ll accept a check, pay by check so that they won’t have to pay credit card processing fees.

And if you want to get a double bonus, buy a gift card from a local grocery store and gift it to someone who is currently out of work. You’ll support our local grocers and give someone a helpful “thinking of you” gift at the same time.

It’s a win-win for you and for them. And the nice thing is, you can do it in a socially distanced way.

As a public service, we’ve opened this article to everyone regardless of subscription status.