CLEVELAND — The spirit of Cleveland, like Terminal Tower at night, shines bright through tough times. Our community continues to rally around those who have had their lives turned upside down during the coronavirus pandemic.
With a staggering number of our neighbors out of work right now, much awaited stimulus cash will soon help shore up their wallets.
“We’ve seen the foreclosure crisis, we’ve seen really hard hits to our economy before. We’ve pulled through a lot before,” Rebecca Maurer said.
While many Americans are expected to use their federal checks to cover rent, groceries or bills, Maurer will use hers to pay it forward.
“We know what hard times are like, but now we have to band together more than ever," Maurer said.
Coming off landing her dream job just a few months ago, Maurer said she’s in a good position.
“The income is steady. My hours haven’t been effected,” Maurer said.
Knowing that's not the case for so many of her friends and neighbors, Maurer launched the Cleveland Stimulus Pledge, a site where people can commit part or all of their stimulus check to a local non-profit.
“One person doing that you kind of feel like 'Is it really worth it?' But if you see a lot of people doing it, it gets you excited to participate,” Maurer said.
One of the organizations featured on the site is the Northeast Ohio Black Health Coalition which is currently delivering meals to Cleveland families that can’t get to the food bank or to Cleveland Metropolitan School District's distribution sites.
Kate Warren is in a financial position to donate her stimulus check.
“I feel really blessed. My income is not changing,” Warren said.
Warren plans to pass along the $1,200 she’s expecting to hit her bank account.
“It does feel sort of comforting to think about just taking that money and repurposing it in my community,” Warren said.
With still so much uncertainty ahead of us, Maurer understands why there may be some people who might be hesitant parting ways with their stimulus check.
“We've all got to weigh that. If you are safe and stable right now, if you have money coming in the door, if you have savings you can live off of for a little while, don’t see this check as a windfall,” Maurer said.
Not all of Maurer’s money is headed towards a nonprofit.
“Keep it in the local economy, spend it at a local business,” Maurer said.
She’s supporting a locally owned jeweler in Gordon Square.
“I’m buying a pair of earrings from them. If it feels like a windfall to you, if you don’t need it right now, get it out the door to the community however you can,” Maurer said.
Maurer said she hopes her idea will encourage others to help our community weather this storm in any way possible.
Cleveland Stimulus Pledge has a section where you can submit a local non-profit to be featured.
Maurer said she wants to make sure they’re not just handpicking a few and the community has an active role in who gets a little extra support from the stimulus checks.
To learn more about the Cleveland Stimulus Pledge, click here.