Everyone spends their money in a manner most suiting their lifestyle. Some folks will buy a lottery ticket when the car is almost out of gas. Others will keep the satellite dish and eat Raman noodles.
As long as a person is happy with their choice, no problem. If you’re one of those people who are fortunate to not have to make those choices, and are comfortable with your bank balance(s), here are a few suggestions on what to do with your $1,400 your grandchildren will be paying for their entire lives.
Tip and overpay front line workers. While teachers whine about whether they’ll be safe with seven children in a classroom, there are people who had to come to work and had to pay bills. They are at risk every day, with little complaint.
There are hundreds of people who work at McDonalds, a casino, pizza joints and big box stores who are the lowest paid folks, work bad hours and must tolerate horrendous behavior from customers. We’ve all witnessed how some people a year ago just flipped a switch and became monsters wearing masks.
First say thank you to these people and treat them with respect. Secondly overtip them. You’ve got $1,400, you can tip two bucks on a five dollar sandwich.
Donate. There are many non-profit organizations severely stressed and sincerely in need. They were hurting before the pandemic, much more so now.
This must be the most difficult climate ever to conduct any sort of fundraising. Dinners and lunches are out. Tough selling tickets to any sort of draw. Traffic is down, people are only now starting to poke their heads out and some of the regular donors are out of work, not donating.
The Española Valley Humane Society has dogs and cats stashed all over the city and counties. They’re short on staff and volunteers, underfunded and the flow of unwanted pets never slows.
They lost one of their fundraising arms, Barkin’ Boutique last fall and also closed the furniture resell store. While the shelter receives funding from the city of Española and Rio Arriba County, it’s never nearly enough.
We understand the argument that people should come first but loose animals, abandoned animals and those in poor health affect human life directly. They can’t take care of themselves so we must.
Talk about making food choices, Food Depot is operating on steroids right now. They have almost tripled their capacity to collect and distribute food. When they conduct distributions in our area, there are always more people in line to get food than there is food. Food Depot deserves all the help it can get from the Valley. It is doing more than its part to help us.
Hand-in-hand with Food Depot is San Martin de Porres Soup Kitchen. This strictly volunteer operated kitchen not only feeds those in need, it has an army of volunteers delivering meals. Masks and gloves and constant wipe-downs are the rules. They haven’t missed a beat in the past year, only increased capacity.
The facility is in Apple Valley just below City Hall. Those who can walk are welcome and those who can’t can make arrangements for delivery.
We don’t need to rehash education’s problems. However, Rick Bailey at Northern New Mexico College developed a fundraising arm for the College that can address many student and staff needs, not just scholarships.
The Eagle Fund has been addressing needs such as Chrome Books, hot spots, Christmas gifts for students’ children and a food pantry. Most recently they’ve begun stocking a closet with clothes for those new to the job market. It’s one thing to get your degree, but then former students must do battle with a vicious labor market. Having a nice dress, suit or even jacket helps with an interview and boosts confidence.
If you don’t want to cut loose of some of your $1,400, consider checking your closet for good condition and perhaps fashionable clothes to donate. It’s not Goodwill or Salvation Army. Surely Mr. Bailey doesn’t want boxes of old underwear and holey socks on his doorstep. Consider donating something you would wear to an interview.
People hit hardest were the people already in difficult conditions. The homeless, couch surfers, those in cars and those camping in secluded areas didn’t think conditions could worsen, but they did. These folks need the government’s $1,400 handout the worst and none of them will get it.
Most probably are not even on the radar. They haven’t worked or paid taxes for years so there is no updated information. They don’t have bank accounts for direct deposit, nor an address to have the check mailed.
We discourage giving money directly to our homeless population. We do encourage supporting the organizations that support the homeless. Your money will be spent correctly, go farther and will help more people.
Moving Arts Española and Pathways Shelter are two great examples. Pathways is overseeing the Eagle Village Motel, recently purchased by Santa Fe County and given to Pathways. They’re housing homeless who have tested positive for coronavirus and must be quarantined.
They’re still working to establish a shelter near the old McDonalds but have people there regularly with regular human needs.
Moving Arts Española hasn’t skipped a beat. If anything the dynamic duo of Roger Montoya and Salvador Ruiz have doubled down during the pandemic. They still offer art courses, dancing, gymnastics and cooking. We have no doubt they’ll be back to in-person by the summer.
They have a $100,000 matching grant right now so if you give them $500, it gets turned into $1,000. You would be helping many local children and teens who are finding their paths in life with the help of Moving Arts.
We’ve surely missed some great, worthy organizations that space won’t allow. If you have a favorite organization, they need your help now more than ever. And $1,400 just landed in your lap. Share it with a group that can put it to good use.
You can still keep the satellite dish and buy a lottery ticket.