Got plans for that sweet $1,200 stimulus check? Good. Times are tough, and as a taxpayer, it’s your money anyway, no matter whose name is on the signature line.
If, on the other hand, you're doing just fine financially and also a little mad about the current state of affairs, the decisions being made by those in charge, and the fact your friends and neighbors are scraping by with limited or no access to healthcare?
Big mood. We feel you.
Luckily, there are a few places where that check could do some good. Consider some of these causes if your personal bailout's burning a hole in your pocket.
(Help us out by name-dropping any worthy opportunities in the comments.)
In Minnesota, you still have access to reproductive healthcare, including abortion services, during the lockdown. (As a rule, unplanned pregnancy has bad timing.) But that’s not for lack of anti-abortion activists trying to shut clinics down, arguing they're somehow a less worthy use of medical equipment and resources. If you want to give these healthcare centers a leg up, sign your check over to Planned Parenthood, or an independent clinic of your choice.
The Minnesota Immigrant Families Fund
Launched in the immediate aftermath of the COVID-19 shutdown, this GoFundMe account is specifically geared toward those individuals and families "whose main sources of income come from immigrants not eligible for state or federal benefits." Backed by a coalition of immigrant and religious groups, the fund has already raised nearly $150,000. Find more information here.
The American Civil Liberties Union
The gears of justice continue to grind along, even while everything’s locked down. It’s harder (and ill-advised) to attend protests or rallies, but you can still help by donating to the American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota. Coronavirus poses a huge threat to jail inmates and ICE detainees, so recently, the ACLU has been pressuring local sheriffs and officials to develop aggressive strategies to protect prisoners from the spread of disease.
Meals for healthcare workers
While a lot of us are stuck at home, nurses, doctors, and hospital staff are on the front lines of this epidemic, risking their lives to keep us safe. If you want to help out, you can donate to one of several services sending meals to these hardworking Minnesotans: Meals for Medics (created by Friends of Global Market Inc.), Feed A Nurse MN (created by a couple of Minnesotan moms), and Feed the Frontlines You Betcha! Box (created by Share Local Love LLC). Learn more about how to donate here.
Domestic violence services and programs
Home isn’t a safe sanctuary for everybody. As the stay-at-home order drags on and tensions rise, plenty of people facing domestic violence are going to need help in the days ahead. Consider lending a hand to Violence Free Minnesota or one of your local domestic violence shelters.
Second Harvest Heartland
You can always donate to this Twin Cities area food bank, and emergency meals are still available during the COVID-19 epidemic. Now, with the economy under stress and fewer wages to be made outside the home, a lot of people need it more than ever.
Open Arms Minnesota
This charitable organization packages and delivers healthy, medically specified meals for people suffering from life-threatening illnesses. A lot of Open Arms’ patrons are also immunocompromised, making them particularly vulnerable to the spread of the virus.
Any drive raising funds for protective medical equipment
Lots of Minnesota organizations—including some prominent groups in the Chinese American community—are pooling their resources to make sure healthcare workers don’t have to fight coronavirus unprepared. Having extra masks on hand is also helpful for clinics that treat immunocompromised patients, who could use some added protection against the virus.
COVID-19 Income Relief
Tons of gig workers, freelancers, and service industry professionals have been slammed by the stay-at-home order, and unemployment insurance can only do so much to help pay the rent, especially if you’re undocumented or had to leave your job to care for an immunocompromised family member. If you’re lucky enough to have steady work, you can help by giving away a portion of your income—including, say, a big old stimulus check—through COVID-19 Income Relief, started by a St. Paul venue director and her family, or spending on one of these restaurant industry relief funds.
The U.S. Postal Service
The post office is in trouble, folks. Like, possible imminent collapse trouble. A lot of us out there would hate to see one of the nation’s oldest and most reliable services go down the drain, so maybe throw them a bone if you find yourself flush these days. There’s more than one clever way to go about it.