The devastation of the ongoing pandemic is sadly very far reaching. While no one knows, yet, how the world will bounce back, many people are admirably looking for ways they can help, including two moms from Portland, Maine. Together, they launched a national campaign that has, so far, raised, close to $90,000 for nonprofit organizations, local businesses and other tradespeople.
The campaign, called Pledge My Stimulus, was founded by Wendy Blackwell-Moore and Rev. Tamara Torres McGovern. Both women were individually looking for ways to help and thought about creating a program that allowed people who were able to donate part of or all of their stimulus check to places that would help boost local economies.
“I was feeling a lot of gratitude,” Blackwell-Moore told TODAY Parents. “My wife and I were still both employed. We have a roof over our heads, we have health care and I was thinking about so many folks losing their jobs. Quite frankly, there are so many people out there struggling to meet basic needs.”
Rev. Tamara Torres McGovern also told the outlet, “As a leader in a church community, what we do is mobilize people to become helpers. There was this intersection between recognizing the need and what could be done. It was a golden opportunity for those of us who had not lost income to do something.”
Both women separately reached out to Maine State Rep. Victoria Morales about the idea within the course of a few hours. Morales connected the two and on April 6 they launched the Pledge My Stimulus website. To date, over 117 people have donated part of or all of their stimulus checks to approximately 100 different organizations across 20 states. Plus, the site has raised over $88,000 for nonprofits, local businesses, artists and other tradespeople.
Along with helping others, the initiative has had another positive impact for both moms—it’s taught their kids how to navigate a scary time while still trying to help others. “As a mother of a 3-year-old watching her absorb the message of why we are staying away from people, it looks like we are afraid of other people,” Torres McGovern said. “[Now] what we…are witnessing is hope and how we take care of one another.”
Blackwell-Moore is a mom to two older children, CeCe, 14 and Jude, 10, but she agrees and said she is thankful to have this as a “beautiful distraction” from the “statistics and the curves and the deaths.” Her kids have been looking into organizations and chose to donate to local immigrant organizations. Many of their classmates are immigrants and their families are now facing increased insecurity.
“It is going to be a long time before things feel normal, so how can we practice this economy of caring?” Torres McGovern said. “I am an optimist. My hope is that this gives us an opportunity to practice caring more deeply.”