LACONIA — A local couple have decided to pay it forward by donating their economic stimulus checks to help the needy rather than spending the money on themselves.
“Our needs are met. We can’t in good conscience take this,” said the husband, who asked that he and his wife remain anonymous.
Instead, after looking around and seeing those in the community who are in dire need of help now, they decided to donate the $1,400 each of them received this week to Isaiah 61 Cafe, which has been helping the city’s less-fortunate residents for going on three years.
“We really like giving to people who are down and out,” said the wife.
They decided to speak to a reporter for this article in hopes that others who are able might consider doing the same thing — donating some or all of their stimulus check to those who are really struggling.
“Hopefully your dollars will help someone out,” the wife said.
Even Isaiah 61 will not know who these Good Samaritans are, as the donation will come through a charitable fund operated by the firm that manages the couple’s retirement funds.
Since June 2018, Isaiah 61 on New Salem Street has been a place for the homeless and others who are down-and-out, the sober and the addicted, to go to get a continental breakfast and a hot lunch served Monday through Friday. In addition, the facility offers a place where people can shower, do their laundry, get their mail, and have a locker to store their belongings so they don’t get stolen.
Told about the forthcoming donation, Dave Longval, who runs Isaiah 61 along with his wife Dawn, was immediately grateful.
“We don’t make it a practice to solicit money,” he said of the all-volunteer operation. “We rely on donations from churches, businesses and from individuals. We operate on a shoestring budget.”
The facility serves about 50 people a day, Longval said.
The couple said they decided to donate the proceeds of their stimulus checks to Isaiah 61 after reading about the facility in The Laconia Daily Sun and elsewhere.
The couple donated the first stimulus checks they received last spring to the local Salvation Army after the wife met a woman who spoke about the help she received at the homeless shelter operated by the church and charitable organization.
“We’ve shifted from the biggies to the local organizations, where a gift can have more impact,” the husband said. “There is no lack of need and no lack of pain.”
Longval said some people had donated either all or part of the proceeds of their stimulus checks last year.
The couple who are making the contribution were quick to point out that most people receiving stimulus checks truly need that money at this time.
“We’re more fortunate,” the husband said. “We decided to pay it forward.”