CORONAVIRUS

Eastern Iowans begin receiving stimulus checks, but is it enough?

Some residents using stimulus pay for rent, groceries; others donating money

Lisa Krupski (center right) and her son Colby, 13, talk with neighbors Jenn and Daniel Coleman at their home in Marion o
Lisa Krupski (center right) and her son Colby, 13, talk with neighbors Jenn and Daniel Coleman at their home in Marion on Sunday, April 19, 2020. The Krupskis moved to Cedar Rapids from Pennsylvania, but though Lisa has received her stimulus money, she still is waiting to receive her unemployment payments from Pennsylvania, where she was last employed. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)
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MARION — Lisa Krupski moved from Pennsylvania back to her hometown of Marion in February, and right into the coronavirus pandemic.

She barely had a chance to get her oldest child enrolled in school before it was announced that school would be canceled.

The job she was following to Iowa fell through. And her second gig working at a brewery has been put on hold until restaurants are reopened.

When Krupski received her government stimulus check last week of $1,200 plus $1,000 for her two children, it was “a huge present,” she said.

Krupski considered taking a job at a grocery store, but she decided she doesn’t want to put her children at risk.

“Just moving here and not being able to pay bills was a very scary situation,” said Krupski, 38. “It’s a baby step in the right direction. I don’t think it (the stimulus check) is enough ... . I think it saved us until May, but come May what are we going to do?”

Americans began receiving a one-time payment in relief checks last week as a part of the United State’s $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief package. But some citizens using tax preparer services and people with 2019 tax returns still to be processed may not have received their payments yet.

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Citizens who used H&R Block, TurboTax or another tax filing services may have their payment delayed because the government may not have their direct deposit information, according to the U.S. Treasury.

Those who have not yet received their stimulus payment should enter their bank account information into the IRS “Get My Payment” site, according to the Treasury Department. (See page 4B for more on stimulus checks.)

Adults can receive up to $1,200 each and $500 per child.

Like Krupski, David Leonard, 23, doesn’t think the one-time stimulus pay is enough.

Leonard, of Cedar Rapids, works at First Federal Credit Union. An hourly employee, he began working part-time last week because of the coronavirus.

Leonard put enough away from the stimulus check to cover rent in May on his downtown Cedar Rapids apartment, made a few loan payments and put the rest aside for a car repair.

“I really thought I was in trouble after having my hours cut and needing to pay for this surprise repair on my car, but the stimulus deposit is really keeping me out of the red and should keep the car moving,” Leonard said.

Even so, Leonard said the people who need the stimulus pay most will have it “eaten up fast” by rent, mortgages, loans and groceries.

That’s why Benjamin Randolph, 33, is donating $600 of his $1,200 stimulus check, plus $500 for his son, and putting the rest into savings.

After posting on Facebook in the Marion, IA Happenings page asking fellow residents what he should do with his check, he decided to donate $300 to Foundation 2, and another $300 to his neighbors by sending them gift cards to local businesses.

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He’s currently fielding Facebook messages from people reaching out to him, mostly asking if he could donate a gift card to their family members, he said. He’s working with those residents to mail out gift cards.

Randolph is hopeful the stimulus checks will help boost the economy as businesses remained shuttered during the pandemic.

“I think the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 was successful under President Barack Obama, so I would hope this helps as well,” Randolph said.

Comments: (319) 368-8664; grace.king@thegazette.com

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Our most important Coronavirus coverage is free to the public.

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