Twelve hundred dollars! A new bicycle? Pastries every Sunday for a year! A puppy dog?! I have to confess that when I first heard about the federal money going to (almost) every American I thought about more than a few indulgent possibilities. I have a pretty secure job so it felt like a gift, and like a gift, rarely necessary but always appreciated.
Then I stopped myself. And I hope, if you have a secure job, you will stop there with me. There are so many people in our community who struggle in a good month and are desperate more often than should be. And in this challenging time, when all but our clocks seem to be stopping, many more of our neighbors will be furloughed or fired, laid off or given seriously reduced hours.
You know where I’m going with this: if you are employed, securely enough to think about buying a bicycle or puppy dog then use your $1200 to help someone who isn’t.
You can donate the whole thing to your island’s Family Resource Center or Food Bank or other community service group of your choice. You can give it to families in your neighborhood in the form of gift cards to the grocery store. Or you can help support our local businesses by committing a real portion of that check to your favorite restaurant or gift store.
I plan to donate ¼ of my check to my Family Resource Center; ¼ to the Food Bank; spend ¼ on takeout from restaurants I can’t imagine losing; and ¼ in reserve in case the COVID-19 chaos eventually derails my family as it has so many others.
For those of you as fortunate as I to have a job, please join me in committing your check to your neighbors and your community. We are all here, isolated but together. And together we can help our neighbors through the next uncertain months.
San Juan Island