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Local First Alliance isn't just about keeping money in our local economy; it's also about giving back to the community we call home. Local First Alliance member Ledyard National Bank will be standing behind this statement on December 1 as an underwriting sponsor of The 19 Days of Norwich campaign. This holiday local-spending campaign, created by Dan Fraser of Dan & Whit's in Norwich, raises donations for the Upper Valley Haven, which provides shelter, food, and services for people experiencing homelessness. Now in its second year, Local First Alliance businesses will help Norwich expand this exciting project throughout the Upper Valley.

The premise of the campaign is simple. This December 1-20, participating locally owned businesses will donate 1% of their sales of a specific product, service, or their overall sales to the Haven. Through a series of events, discounts, and promotions, shoppers are encouraged to shop locally and make their dollars count. As this year’s holiday season fast approaches, Local First Alliance members from throughout the Upper Valley have joined the effort to promote shopping locally and encourage this important reinvestment in our community.

The concept arose in 2013 when Fraser discovered that the Haven was experiencing a severe shortage of food around the holiday season. He quickly mobilized the town of Norwich and its local business owners, recruiting Norwich businesses to donate "1% for the Haven" in what became "The 19 Days of Norwich." The effort raised $27,860 and 12.5 tons of food for the Haven. This year, with Ledyard National Bank as a sponsor and the participation of Local First Alliance members, we can expect another impressive outcome. 

"I am doing this because we need to be aware that right here in Norwich, and throughout the Upper Valley, hunger is an issue for many people," said Fraser, a Local First Alliance member. "I started this because our friends and neighbors are the ones in need – these are the people who we work with, children who attend our schools, families that live next door to you or just down the road. I am thrilled that Local First Alliance is pairing with us in this effort. People are slowly realizing that supporting local business matters. Money spent locally stays local."

On top of their donation, Dan & Whit's is also selling a cookbook with all proceeds going to the Haven. Breakfasts, canned food drives, wine tastings, open houses, and holiday specials will be available throughout Norwich and the Upper Valley during the 19 days. Shoppers can stop by Dan & Whit's or a participating businesses. You can find a calendar of ongoing events here

Local businesses interested in joining "The 19 Days of Norwich" campaign may contact Emily@VitalCommunities.org