While many Americans are in desperate need of their stimulus checks for food and medicine, there are others who are in a much more fortunate situation. It's times like these that we see our community come together and have each other's backs. Here are some humble suggestions for mindfully spending or redistributing surplus stimulus income to the people who need it most.
Sponsor a Single Parent
Single parents are uniquely constrained in their earning power because their time is boxed in by school schedules, meal making and bedtimes. This group of humans has unique worries and responsibilities. Sponsor a weekly produce delivery ($20-$35 a week) for the next few months. Several years back, a friend messaged me out of the blue asking for my Paypal account and said she was randomly tithing her single parent friends every week. She had no idea how desperately I needed that money because I was too proud to ask. We called it sister church and I will never forget it. Consider doing the same, no strings attached.
Where are the first places you want to go when it is safe to resume normal activities again? Your massage therapist? A favorite cafe? Perhaps our little bookstore? Consider buying a gift card to be used later if their business is not able to operate or simply shift your spending away from mega-chains and to the mom & pop places around town. Our Mainstreet district is selling $10 gift certificates for $5 (good at many neighboring businesses) to help out.
Support Resilience Based Projects
There are a few incredible projects that have been working long before the pandemic to educate and innovate in ways that many are just seeing how critical their work is now that there is a pandemic. My favorites in our community are Orlando based IDEAS for Us, an Environmental Solutions Incubator, Fleet Farming and Orlando Permaculture. For an immediate rapid-response effort, you can support local effort to sew face masks Orlando Face Mask Strong.
Become a Local Media Member
Locally, we have several gems that give us hyper-local person-on-the-street news and features that are essential to a local living economy. Since their advertisers are cash strapped, so are these treasures. Our favorites: Orlando Weekly, Bungalower, and The Daily City.
Buy Some Stamps
We rely on the postal service for our now suddenly online business and without this public service in place, we can't fathom how it would impact supply lines for medications and other important things being delivered. This should be a public good and just buying some stamps right now can preserve this institution.
Make Their Day
Our front line medical workers, grocery store clerks, restaurant workers, delivery people are out there risking their lives to keep us healthy and fed. Teachers are working overtime. Family members of those on the front lines are worried. Those caring for the sick or grieving a loss are especially vulnerable. Bring a little sunshine into their life with a little something to show you care. Our shop is curated with an eye for ethically sourced, Fair Trade or USA / indie made goods, so supporting us has a deep impact.