Giving away money can be difficult. It’s a dilemma we learned when we received our recent economic stimulus check.
We don’t need the cash. Although our working salaries were modest, for decades we spent sparingly, avoided debt, saved and invested money and emerged, hardly wealthy, but easily able to pay our bills.
We’re fortunate. Too many good people, especially those who clean buildings, tend the elderly, wait tables, and clerk in stores do essential tasks yet are inadequately paid and often lack benefits. Coronavirus and the derecho added to their financial and emotional stress.
When we learned we’d each receive a stimulus payment we decided to get it into the hands of people caught in a financial crack that is, we hope, temporary. The $1,200 we received from the government isn’t a lot of money, but it just might give people a shred of financial breathing room to pay rent or buy groceries.
Deciding how to get money to people in need is challenging. Giving to big national charities would be simple but we wanted to channel our stimulus cash to local families and achieve maximum benefit. So we did it in two ways.
First, we sent some of the money to three local nonprofits who directly help people. They are:
The Catherine McAuley Center, which provides services to immigrants and refugees transitioning to life in Iowa.
The local chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, which helps families challenged by mental illness.
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Family Promise, which helps families meet temporary basic needs, such as paying rent and buying food.
Second, we knew several people who suffered income losses caused by the pandemic. So, some of our stimulus money went directly to a hairdresser and massage therapist. We hope it helps them financially squeeze through until their business recovers.
Our stimulus money is thin when spread among these vital groups and people. We challenge others who don’t need their stimulus to join us helping local people. Together we can make an enormous difference in the lives of families caught in financial binds.
Marion and Rich co-own Winding Pathways LLC, a business designed to encourage people to create wondrous yards. www.windingpathways.com.