Chris Smith: Ideas for sharing stimulus money with those who aren’t OK

People who feel they don’t need the money consider how best to get it to people who do.|

It appears the U.S. government will indeed issue at some point to most of us an assistance/stimulus check.

I’ve heard from a good many people who feel that they’re doing at least OK financially, and are eager to share some or all of their payment with people who are not.

Some of their ideas for how to do that:

Consider all of the individuals and small businesses who you know of that are probably hurting and pick one or more to help out. If you can’t think of any such people and businesses, ask around for recommendations.

If the service industry people you normally rely on - hairstylists, housekeepers, small-business owners, food service and retail employees - can’t work now, pay them any way or set aside the money for when you can get in touch.

Donate the money you receive from the government to the very busy Redwood Empire Food Bank.

Make a contribution to the Resilience Fund of the Community Foundation Sonoma County, which is funding 35 local nonprofits that are helping people in distress to get by.

Consider sharing your government payment with the Crisis Response Fund of the Santa Rosa Junior College Foundation. It seeks to raise $250,000 quickly to purchase laptops for 500 students who cannot access online education without one.

Make a contribution to, which helps our immigrant community.

Check GoFundMe and the other crowdfunding sites for local businesses and people who are seeking help.

Use your government check to purchase gift or cash cards, then offer them to people you encounter at grocery stores or other essential business and whom you sense are struggling.

Reach out to residential property managers and ask if they know of tenants who are having financial trouble, and if you can contribute to their rent.

More to come.


I’M A SIPPIE and so are you.

Gale Brownell of Sebastopol shares what a friend observed from a responsible distance: Through decades past, it was the Hippies, then the Yippies, then the Yuppies. “Now it is the Sippies - those who shelter in place.”

Yes, we’ve come to embrace our identity as children of burgeoning orders to hunker at home. We must be the very best Sippies that we can be.


ON MERIDIAN CIRCLE in Santa Rosa, the Sippies are sipping.

Missing the quality face time that neighbors on the loop typically enjoy, resident Gayle Pickrell had an idea.

Aware that on Tuesday evenings, the neighbors drift at various times to the curb to retrieve the refuse cans that we emptied that morning, Pickrell suggested:

Why don’t we all wheel out our cans at 5 p.m., then grab a glass of wine or what you have you, and catch up while observing social distancing?

This past Tuesday, the neighbors each pushed an empty bin into the street, stood by it for distancing and had the greatest time.

“We each shared what we wanted to accomplish at home in the next week,” said Pickrell, a retired United Methodist Church minister, “and will ‘report back’ next Tuesday.”

Hurray for the Meridian Circle neighbors, who sip while they s.i.p.

You can reach Chris Smith at 707-521-5211 and

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