Dear Amy: I’m in my mid-30s. I am married, with no kids.
My mortgage payment is low, my student loans are paid off, and both my husband and I work for “essential” businesses — I in the defense sector (working from home), and he in infrastructure.
We aren’t rich, but in comparison to so many families, we are in an enviable situation during this crisis.
Right now, I don’t need a stimulus check. Since I’ll get one anyway, what can I do with it to help during this pandemic? — So Far, So Good
Dear So Far: As of this writing, stimulus payments have not started arriving.
However, assuming that these payments find their way into many bank accounts, I urge you — and anyone else in this position — to consider donating your stimulus check to a worthy nonprofit that helps people in your community. My funds will go to Foodnet Meals on Wheels in my home county of Tompkins Co, New York.
Meals on Wheels (mealsonwheelsamerica.org) delivers nutritious meals to homebound seniors and is a Godsend in the many small and isolated villages in the rural area where I live — especially now.
Because of the pandemic, the need has grown, and in my area, Meals on Wheels has already delivered two-weeks’ worth of frozen meals to their clients, in case the organization itself is forced into quarantine.
Healthy social distancing dictates that volunteers cannot closely connect with clients in the way they are used to doing, but these volunteers are valued “first responders,” as they visit elders whose own family members may not be able to get to them because of the current travel restrictions.
To help those on the other end of the generational spectrum, Save the Children is partnering with No Kid Hungry to distribute funds to local communities in order to ensure that the estimated 22 million schoolchildren who rely on school lunches for daily nutrition have access to food during this pandemic.
Check Savethechildren.org to see how you can help.
Dear Readers: I recently heard from Karl Pillemer, author of “30 Lessons for Living: Tried and True Advice from the Wisest Americans.” (2011, Avery). Pillemer, a professor of gerontology at Weill Cornell Medicine, interviewed over 1,000 elders for his 10-year research project. This is a great time to absorb some of the lessons they imparted.
Following is an excerpt from a recent interview with the Cornell Chronicle. Pillemer notes: “The elders can provide us with the long view, confirming in a literal sense that ‘this, too, shall pass.’”
“I met Holocaust survivors, refugees from many of the early 20th century’s other major conflicts, and people who lost everything in the Depression,” Pillemer said. “By the time I sat with them 40, 50, 60, or 70 years later, they had built comfortable, often successful and fulfilling lives. Their message was extraordinarily clear: Crises occur, societies change, and, with resilience, we recover and move on.”
“Focusing on what your future can be a decade or more from now can provide an antidote to worry, the elders advise. This lesson is also a reminder: Present actions are the future stories of how we survived. What story do we want to tell?
“If you want to help yourself, the elders said, help others. Pillemer noted that their own poor families helped out even poorer ones during the Great Depression. They remember World War II as a time when communities came together, and everyone joined hands and hearts to support one another at home.
“Generously assisting other people to the extent that we can is a major way people are able to feel a sense of control, whether that was helping other people during the Great Depression or assisting the war effort during WWII. Generously helping others is a very good, self-interested strategy.”
Dear Amy: I’m responding to a question a while back from “Wondering Diners.” These two lucky people were eating out and were dumbfounded when a stranger paid for their meal.
I had a similar experience a few years ago. My wife and I went to a steakhouse for dinner. After we ordered, a server informed us that a gentleman on the other side of the room had paid for our meal. I was wearing a cap with “Korean War Veteran” printed on it.
I wanted to thank him, but he had already left.
I am so grateful there are a few nice people left in the world. — Proud Veteran
Dear Proud: It feels good to be able to thank veterans for service to the country.