North Smithfield couple donate stimulus money, challenge others

North Smithfield couple donate stimulus money, challenge others

Lisa and Bob Sherman of North Smithfield decided to donate their second round of COVID-19 stimulus money and are challenging others who don’t need it to do the same.

NORTH SMITHFIELD – When Bob and Lisa Sherman received their second round of COVID-19 stimulus money in the mail last month, it didn’t take them long to decide what to do with it.

“It was just sort of a unanimous thought: ‘Let’s send it to the food bank,’” Bob said.

The North Smithfield couple received about $1,000 as part of the second round of government stimulus payments approved in December. They plan to give it all away to those affected by the pandemic and are challenging others to do the same.

“We don’t need it, and that means millions of people are getting this extra money that they’re working, they’re not in any real trouble, and all these people who aren’t working, they need it,” he said.

Bob explained that he and Lisa have continued to live comfortably during the pandemic and didn’t feel they needed the money. Lisa is a 3rd-grade teacher in West Warwick schools who has turned her dining room table into a distance learning classroom. Bob is a retired school administrator and a writer.

They both felt it was ridiculous for them to keep the money, he said, when others needed it more.

“If I was one of these unfortunate people who were unemployed, absolutely, that’s who really needs it,” he said. “Our feeling is, ‘Let’s put the money where it belongs.’”

The couple donated $500 to the Rhode Island Community Food Bank and plan to donate another $300 to a separate charity. The remaining funds, he said, they’ll take out in $20 bills to give to servers in addition to their regular tips.

“These are the hardest-working people that I know of right now. They need it,” he added.

The Shermans are hoping the idea will catch on and that others who don’t need the money will be inspired to donate. For those who still have a job and have been able to live within their means during the pandemic, Bob said, there’s a better place for the money to go.

The federal government is now considering a third round of stimulus checks with payments of up to $1,400 per person up to certain income levels.