By Lurdes C. da Silva / O Jornal editor

MARION – When Marion resident Christine Wood learned that she would be getting a $1,200 stimulus payment from the IRS, she immediately felt compelled to put it to good use.

So, she donated the entire check to the Salvation Army and the Immigrants’ Assistance Center (IAC) of New Bedford.

“I was getting this stimulus money and it donned on me that many people in this country – for whatever reason – might not be getting stimulus checks. They need to eat too.”

She gave $200 to the Salvation Army. Since the $2.2 trillion package approved by the Congress to offer financial help during the COVID-19 pandemic excludes many immigrants, she decided to give the rest to the IAC.

“This administration has been so unkind [to immigrants],” she said. “When I got my stimulus check, I wanted to do something good… it made me feel good to help the people.”

Her only condition was that her donation be used for food.

IAC’s Executive Director Helena Hughes suggested that Wood buy gift cards for Seabra Supermarkets and Price Rite – two popular grocery stores among the center’s clients. She spent $1,000 in $20 and $50 gift cards.

“I lived in New Bedford quite a while, and I love that city,” Wood said.

Hughes said ramifications of the COVID-19 pandemic have hit some immigrant families very hard.

“The IAC is prepared to support immigrant families as we have for over 47 years, and is grateful to donors and supporters for making it possible to continue doing so during the unique circumstances of this public health crisis,” she said.

Wood said she has been familiar with IAC’s work to empower immigrants for citizenship and workforce readiness for awhile.

“I was considering volunteering there, but then there was illness in my family that prevented me,” she said. “I am used to volunteering in nursing homes to do ombudsman work. I am a deep believer in human rights, for people at all levels.”

Wood hopes her kind gesture will persuade others to do the same.

“I want to encourage other people to give,” she said. “These are very hard times.”

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