#ShareMyCheck: Social media users reveal where they're donating stimulus money

"Every single one of these people out here are individuals with their own hardships and stories," said one person who donated their entire check

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By Suzanne Ciechalski

People across the United States who received their coronavirus stimulus payments say they’ve decided to redistribute that money to various organizations and those in need.

“I'm just doing a different organization every day this week, Monday through Friday," Gionni Ponce, 28, told NBC News by phone. She said she and her partner have stable jobs that have allowed them to work from home.

"Between the two of us, we got $2,400 that we weren't expecting and that we didn’t really need," she said. "We don’t have any major problems making ends meet."

Ponce, a fiction writer, said she and her partner each plan to donate half of their stimulus checks to different organizations. So far, she’s chosen to give money to the group We Need Diverse Books, the Queer Writers of Color Relief Fund and Lambda Literary.

Social media users are posting with the hashtag #ShareMyCheck to share how and where they are donating their stimulus money. The group Resource Generation is running the #ShareMyCheck campaign for people to pledge their stimulus money to various groups.

"A lot of us who get this stimulus check won’t need it for economic survival," the group wrote on Twitter on April 7. "Pledging to redistribute this check to poor and working-class led social justice communities and organizations is one way we can support economic and racial justice right now."

Sari Kamin, the public programs manager at the Museum of Food and Drink in New York, donated her entire stimulus check to five different organizations, as well as the museum where she works.

“I am sort of entrenched in stories everyday of people who are no longer employed and really don’t know where their next paycheck is coming from,” Kamin, 39, said.

She donated funds to Eat Offbeat, FoodtoEat, Off Their Plate, The LEE Initiative and the Street Vendor Project.

"Restaurants are not just businesses, they're people. Same goes for street vendors. Every single one of these people out here are individuals with their own hardships and stories," she said. "We're all just individuals trying to make it work."

For Dena Smith of Seneca, South Carolina, the idea to give her stimulus check money to others was sparked by a tweet.

"The suggestion was that you could use your check to sort of serve as reparations to perhaps people of color or minorities, so that really got me thinking that that’s what I wanted to do,” Smith, 53, said.

She sent $500 checks to two friends. One is a waiter in Charleston who’s been out of work due to restrictions on restaurants in the state. The other friend owns a home repair business that’s lost business during the pandemic.

"Of course they both were very grateful," she said. "They both were hesitant to accept it, but while I'm not wealthy, I'm very lucky to be in a position where I'm comfortable financially and I'm still working.”

Smith said the additional $200 left over from her check put her in a position to also donate money to her local United Way and a women's shelter.

Jason Yoon, 41, said he knew early on he wanted to donate at least a portion of his stimulus check to organizations who would benefit from it.

"I felt almost a moral obligation to try to give back what I could,” he said.

Yoon donated to New Immigrant Community Empowerment, the Street Vendor Project, the National Domestic Workers Alliance and New Urban Arts. He also donated money to his employer, Sakhi for South Asian Women, an organization that does work surrounding gender-based violence.

"I do feel strongly that if you are able to, I think we have the responsibility to do what government is failing to allocate fairly," Yoon said, also adding, "I would urge folks to really think about community members that are not being helped."