Dozens of citizens are heeding the call to donate their stimulus checks. The Pledge My Check initiative has already raised over $90,000 from almost 150 people across 15 states.
Experts predict that unemployment in the United States could hit a record-breaking high of 20 percent soon enough. If the pandemic has shown us anything, it is that our institutions are failing and we need to depend on our communities to do the collective good. Sometimes, this means sacrificing something for the greater good of your community or country. Americans in stable financial conditions are therefore coming forward in order to donate their stimulus checks to those who need them more. Through an initiative called Pledge My Check, hundreds of citizens are paying it forward by helping those in need.
The initiative began when a group of volunteers in Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina, came together to donate a part of their stimulus checks to provide relief to those affected by the novel Coronavirus. Within the first seven days of launching Pledge My Check, 37 people across 11 states had pledged a whopping total of just over $18,000. Since then, and as of early morning on Wednesday, 149 people across 15 states had donated $93,962 through Pledge My Check. However, the initiative does not plan to stop there. As more and more Americans receive their stimulus checks, those in stable financial conditions are being asked to heed the call to donate their payments. There is no doubt that dozens more will volunteer to do so.
Project co-creator Ryan O’Donnell said of the initiative in an interview, "This project is all about bringing out the best in our communities. When the stimulus checks were announced, I felt this was a simple way for people to help their neighbors." "I’m fortunate to be in a stable financial situation. I wanted to help, and this stimulus check is an opportunity to redirect that vital financial support to those who need it most in our community," added lead project designer Bethany Faulkner. "We built this tool to enable that and make it a community effort, even as we’re separated in our own homes."
Similar efforts have been established across the country. At present, Pledge My Check donates most of its donations to local organizations, primarily those addressing food insecurity. The initiative works closely with Feeding America’s network of food banks and the organization's affiliated food pantries across the United States. In addition to this, some people have chosen to directly donate their stimulus payments to waiters, neighbors, and other members of their communities. Jordan Bowman, who manages a local nonprofit organization, stated, "The idea is to encourage folks to pledge in a way that is life-giving to them and others. There is complete freedom in how people pledge, but we are encouraging them to consider local causes and to be creative in how they can use this money to support their neighbors, nonprofits, and small businesses."
Kirsten, a woman who donated $1,200 of her stimulus check, said, "My husband and I decided to donate 50% of our total checks. We’ve made monthly gifts to several organizations. These are: Heifer International, UNICEF, The Arts and Science Center of South East Arkansas, and Doctors Without Borders." Other non-profits allowed Americans to pledge their stimulus checks towards a good cause include Meals on Wheels, DonorsChoose.org, and GiveDirectly. If you are in the financial position to do so and would like to pledge your stimulus check, you can visit the official Pledge My Check website to find a list of causes to support.