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Amid global supply chain issues, opportunity is ripe to shop, give local 

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The headlines of national news have read like a doomsday novel recently when it comes to the upcoming holiday season, with labor shortages and global supply chain issues causing experts to predict continued issues in obtaining common holiday gift items ranging from wine to game consoles and workout machines. 

However, those who love the holidays need not despair. There are many ways to celebrate the upcoming festivities without ever having to worry about the price of eggs in China and instead focus on how to best build a strong local economy and be a good neighbor. 

One of the most important things shoppers might do well to remember is that giving truly is the reason for the season, and much need remains in the community. Coming off two years of a global pandemic, life is finally edgining back to normal, but some callenges remain. The United Nations reported last week that global food prices have risen 30 percent in the past year. In the U.S., housing, fuel and food prices overall have continued to climb. 

As a result, local food banks are seeing the impact. 

“The cost of food brings more people to us for help,” said Bonnee Mocabee of the Ronan Food Pantry. “Money donations help us buy large quantities of food at a better price so we can give more food to our clients.”

The pandemic greatly impacted how the food pantry reaches clients. 

“The pandemic affected us in two ways,” Mocabee said. “We received a grant for food though COVID-19 relief. Because of the isolation and masks, our client numbers decreased in 2020 and 2021. Now many of the grants are running out so we are starting to get more people who need the food banks in this area. We welcome all in need. We can do home visits for those who have no transportation and we are now open on Thursday 4 to 7 p.m., Tuesday and Friday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.” 

Mocabee said anyone in need can call 406-676-HELP for more information. 

In addition to giving to those in need, Mission Valley is home to dozens of small businesses that create gift items perfect to wrap and sit under the tree, many of them locally sourced.

Instead of perusing corporate giants like Amazon or Target this season, Mission Valley residents instead might want to hop onto 

Here you can find more than 11,000 Montana producers with more than 55 listed in the Mission Valley. Wares include locally produced jewelry, wine, food items, clothing, flutes, furniture, and other carpentry items. For those more interested in buying ag-related items and giving food in a time of rising prices, connects customers directly with farms.

Even with the conveniences the internet offers in finding and buying gifts, there’s another time-tested strategy of yesteryear that those with supply chain woes might want to try. Take a stroll down Main Street. While the pandemic has closed many businesses, others have opened. 

In Ronan, for example, a magical emporium of delectable treats recently opened on Oct. 26, in the former building that housed the Valley Journal.

“Our store will have an assortment of special holiday gift baskets and popcorn tins for people to choose from,” Co-Owner/Operator of Mission Valley Popcorn Kitchen Meghan Gilligan said. “We will also be creating holiday flavors for our fudge and popcorn.” 

The family-owned and operated business specializes in fudge and popcorn, but also sells retro candies, caramel apples, gift baskets and popcorn tins.

The Polson Chamber of Commerce noted the following reasons to shop at local businesses like the popcorn kitchen. 

1. Small businesses give back (more) to our community

2. Small businesses make a major economic impact 

3. Small businesses provide better customer service 

4. Small businesses provide greater access to product diversity 

5. Small businesses create a sense of community

The Chamber noted that the following events offer great opportunities to shop local: 

The Polson Christmas Tree lighting will take place on Small Business Saturday, Nov. 27. Caroling starts at 5:30 p.m., with Mr. and Mrs. Claus making a grand entrance to a lighted tree at 6 p.m. 

In addition, the Walking in Wonderland Scavenger Hunt will begin on Nov. 27 and run until the first 10 successful hunts are submitted to the Chamber. Clues will be hidden in local businesses.

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