Share Your Stimulus Check with the Most Vulnerable Among Us

Over the last few weeks, many Americans have been eagerly awaiting their stimulus payments from the CARES Act, meant to soften the economic blow of the COVID-19 outbreak. These funds are critical to those struggling with job loss, reduced wages, or unexpected expenses during this challenging time.  

As faith leaders, we have been approached by some of our congregants who are fortunate not to need stimulus payments. They are comfortably employed or retired. They have ample savings. They see the stimulus payment as a tax policy whose benefit they would prefer to share with those truly in need. We would like to propose that those in this situation consider donating their stimulus to an especially needy group – our refugee neighbors.

All faith traditions share the common tenet of “welcoming the stranger.” That is why, for decades, the faith community has supported refugees. There is much confusion, in the midst of a heated national debate on immigration, about the status of refugees. A refugee is a very particular kind of immigrant—one who is fleeing their homeland due to war or persecution, and who has applied to the United Nations for refugee status. If they wish to resettle in the United States, these resilient individuals go through a strict vetting process involving multiple federal agencies before they are allowed into our country. The process can take up to two years.

Refugees come from many countries and backgrounds. Some are uneducated and unskilled. Others are highly trained professionals, even physicians or engineers. Others have worked with American troops in their homelands. Most come to the United States with very little and must start over. This means building new careers, beginning in entry level, hourly jobs often in the hospitality industry. Due to COVID-19, they are experiencing lost or reduced wages.

We are challenging our fellow Houstonians, who are able, to join us in sharing all or part of our stimulus checks with this most vulnerable group.  We have partnered with the main refugee services agencies in our community:  the Alliance for Multicultural Community Services, Catholic Charities, Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston, Refugee Services of Texas, and the YMCA to share these funds with those refugees who need them.  The agencies will work in tandem and have set up a special Emergency Assistance Fund for refugees during this critical time.

The Refugee Emergency Assistance Fund will help these families with basic needs, such as rent and utilities, to keep them stable until they can work again. Refugees are strong and determined; most are self-sufficient within six months of arriving in this country. The COVID-19 emergency will make that timeline a little longer and your support will be most valuable. 

If you have received a stimulus payment that you don’t need and would like to share, please consider donating to this fund at

Together we can come out of this pandemic stronger than we were before, as we share our resources with our neighbors for the common good.

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