NEW CANAAN - Locally owned businesses across southwestern Connecticut say the current economic crisis has meant they?ve had to cut back on charitable donations, which are often vital for community organizations.

This holiday season, customers? efforts to cut costs may mean their communities will suffer. Robert Mallozzi, third-generation owner of Bob?s Sports in New Canaan, says he?s had to slash the store?s donations in half because of slipping sales. Its cutbacks included checks to the New Canaan Fire Department and youth baseball. Bob?s Sports sponsors community events and sports teams.

Donations to Get About, a service of New Canaan that provides rides to seniors, are also down.

Mallozzi does emphasize that he and other business owners continue to volunteer their time when they can?t give money.