Life in a Pandemic

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If there is anything constant in life, other than death and taxes, it is this: Plans Change. COVID-19 has altered all our plans. College and lower level school classes are being held online. Graduations have been canceled; proms, too. We don’t run out to the store to purchase something just because we think we need it. We’re being more careful how we spend money, because our continued employment is not assured. First time homebuyers: how are they going to make their house payments? This is the story for the middle class.

But what about those living paycheck to paycheck, or on public assistance, or without income at all? According to an article written in Marketwatch.com in May 2019 (before the new coronavirus hit), millions of Americans are one paycheck away from financial disaster.

“Certain communities were more prone to economic hardship in the event of missing a paycheck. Roughly two-thirds of households earning less than $30,000 annually and Hispanic households would be unable to cover basic living expenses after missing more than one paycheck, the researchers [from the Federal Reserve] found.”

Consider, then, those persons who are barred from receiving unemployment compensation, TANF and SNAP benefits. Consider the two families seeking asylum in the United States that WVIRM is resettling in Charleston, West Virginia. Employment comparable to what they held in their native countries has not been possible due to limited English fluency and professional licensing requirements. Like Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire, they are depending “on the kindness of strangers.” Strangers such as you and me. 

In strange times such as these, donations to charitable organizations decline. Understandably so. But there are still ways you can help WVIRM help the families we support. Here are a few examples:

  • When shopping BOGO deals, donate your extra item. We’ll pick it up.
  • Do you receive items from a food pantry you don’t like or need? We’ll pick those up, too.
  • Hand sanitizer, alcohol wipes, bars of soap – anything to help combat the virus – would be appreciated. 
  • Bus passes are needed. You can buy these online and mail them to our office at PO Box 5387, Charleston, WV 25361.
  • Share this article on social media. The wider the audience, the greater the potential for help.

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES) contains incentives for charitable giving:

Charitable Giving Incentive: Creates a new above-the-line deduction (universal or non-itemizer deduction that applies to all taxpayers) for total charitable contributions of up to $300. The incentive applies to cash contributions made in 2020 and can be claimed on tax forms next year. Section 2204. The law also lifts the existing cap on annual contributions for those who itemize, raising it from 60 percent of adjusted gross income to 100 percent. For corporations, the law raises the annual limit from 10 percent to 25 percent. Food donations from corporations would be available to 25 percent, up from the current 15 percent cap. Section 2205.    

Plans change. Life as we knew it is different. What doesn’t change, what hasn’t changed, is the can-do spirit of the American people. West Virginians, in particular, have a history of helping their neighbors. Mountaineers are strong, resilient, proud, creative and compassionate. 

WVIRM was founded by people of faith who wanted to put their faith into action. Let’s put feet to our faith. Together, following the guidelines of trusted health professionals, we will survive this pandemic and come out better on the other side.

Please share your ideas of how to help each other and the two families we support, while maintaining safe health practices. And, if you are able, please use the donate button to make a financial contribution.