Looking to give?

Rebecca Neipp

News Review Staff Writer

Looking to give?“Apparently, I’m going to be getting about $1,000 from the President’s stimulus package whether I need it or not, and I do not. I feel really weird about receiving it. I’m thinking a lot about what I should do with it. What do you think?”

Although many residents are counting the days until they receive their one-time relief check offsetting COVID-19 hardship, the aforementioned quandary was posted online by a local resident employed by the federal government.

That sentiment has been echoed by those who have not been financially impacted by our present crisis, and want to know how to help members of their community who have been less fortunate.

“I have seen in the inquiries from our community, and from those reaching out to help the chamber, the hospital and other nonprofits, that there is a deep desire among our residents to help their neighbors,” said Tim Smith, executive director of the Ridgecrest Chamber of Commerce.

“It is amazing to see people wanting to help and encourage people during this difficult season.”

He said that one way he has recommended for people to reinvest in the local economy is to choose a business that has been closed, or otherwise compromised, and buy a gift certificate for their services. That gives them a small revenue stream to help tide them over during closures, and it gives the purchasers something they can use or give away.

“Maybe there is not an immediate need, but is there a remodel project that you have been thinking about? Or many a new lawnmower you’ve been thinking about buying? Maybe this is the time to do it,” said Smith.

“This is a way to make sure those resources are going back into our economy. Spending it here can also help our neighbors who are feeling the strain — it becomes a resource for you as well as a blessing to someone else.”

“Kern County is known for its generosity,” said Louis Medina, director of community impact for the Kern Community Foundation.

The foundation is preparing for its annual “Give Big Kern” campaign, and he said that while many residents are weathering the crisis without stimulus checks, there are many nonprofits worthy of that investment.

“Generous souls eager to help others during these unprecedented times might consider donating their stimulus money to charity,” he said.

KCF launched its fundraiser at givebigkern.org on April 5, and will continue collecting donations for more than 130 county charities until May 6.

Local recipients include Almost Eden animal rescue, China Lake Museum Foundation, Desert Community Orchestra Association, Indian Wells Valley Economic Development Corp., Maturango Museum, Salvation Army and Women’s Center-High Desert.

“Leaders of volunteer-run agencies may be facing financial hardships due to temporary or permanent loss of their day jobs,” said Medina. “Many charities rely on event-based spring fundraisers that were canceled.”

In the face of these losses, the need for community support is at an all-time high, he said.

“Nonprofit organizations support people when they are in need,” said Smith. “It is important for us to make sure we support them when we are able.

“Giving to a local business or organization will have a lasting impact in our community.”

Pictured: Ridgecrest Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Tim Smith holds up some of the gift cards members and residents have purchased for its Hospital Heroes program. — Photo by Rebecca Neipp

Story First Published: 2020-04-17