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Are You Among the Lucky Ones in the Pandemic? 7 Ideas to Pass on Your Government Issued Stimulus Fund

By Ann Marie Mershon April 21, 2020 Lifestyle

My husband and I are coping well as we stay at home during the pandemic. We’re actually enjoying this break from our usual busy schedules, starting each day with a morning walk with a few neighbors – in masks, walking six feet apart. We’ve had no corona virus cases in our county, so we’re lucky.

As for many of you, the pandemic has brought a major life change, but we’ve managed to connect with friends and attend meetings online though Zoom, Skype, Facebook, and email.

It’s been a time for renewed connections. And dinner has become the highlight of our day, a culinary adventure as we troll through our pantry for new ideas.

We’re fortunate to be on a fixed retirement income of social security and pensions, and we bemoan the trials of many in our community who are suddenly without income, for the business owners who have had to close their doors, and particularly for the medical workers who take great risks to serve us without adequate safety equipment.

It’s just not fair.

Although Jerry and I are far from wealthy and would welcome the few extra thousand dollars the US government has promised, we don’t need it. We’ve decided to pass our stimulus funds on to someone who does.

Not only that, but we want to encourage others to do the same. Many of our friends are better off than we are and won’t get stimulus funds, but they can easily pass on some of their wealth to those struggling through the world-wide economic shut-downs.

It feels good to help others – a great antidote to the doldrums of passing time indoors during the pandemic.

If you’re one of the lucky people who can pass on your good fortune to those less fortunate, I offer these suggestions:

Donate It Directly to Someone You Know Who Needs It More Than You Do

Most of us know someone who’s been laid off or who depends on a business that has closed. You can donate anonymously or just hand them a check. I remember when $100 made all the difference.

Donate It to a Restaurant or Local Business to Distribute Among the Staff They’ve Laid Off

Unemployment benefits are on their way for many displaced workers, but they’ve most likely gotten behind on bills during the wait time. This is a way to support the unemployed.

Purchase Gift Certificates from Local Businesses

Businesses that have had to close their doors will surely welcome a little income, and you can use the gift certificates yourself later, give them as gifts, or donate them to future fundraisers.

Donate It to Your Local Hospital or Health Care Foundation to Purchase Medical Supplies

Be sure to contact the hospital of your choice to find out how they’re collecting funds. In our community, the health care foundation is managing donations, but it may go through the accounting department of your local hospital.

Donate It to Your Local Food Shelf

Food shelves everywhere are stretched to their limits, and any donations can be used to purchase food or converted into gift certificates for local food stores. Food shelves can always use financial support.

Donate It to a Homeless Shelter

If you have a homeless shelter in your community, this is another place where the virus will be making the rounds, and unfortunately, homelessness will be on the rise because of lost jobs.

Donate It to Your Local Human Services Department (Sometimes Called Social Services)

Though most human services departments can’t solicit funds, they are able to take donations. You should designate how you’d like your donation used – for grocery gift certificates, rent payments, or just as a cash gift to a struggling family.

During these difficult times, I’m heartened as I see people reaching out to help one another, and this is one way we can help from the safety of our homes. I believe strongly that people are basically good and that we do, indeed, care about each other.

Do you know someone who is struggling in this difficult time? Do you have the means to help? What can you do use your time and funds to help others in need? Please share with our community and let’s have a conversation.

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The Author

A retired English teacher, Ann Marie Mershon lives on a lake in northern Minnesota with her husband, Jerry, and their two dogs. She’s published three books as well as numerous articles and columns. You can read about her years of teaching in Istanbul on her blog

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