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Local grassroots organization launches fund to fill aid gap

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Mano Amiga launched a $7,000 local stimulus fund for those who were not eligible for the CARES Act stimulus checks, with hopes of doubling it with the next round of stimulus. 

The grassroots advocacy organization credits the idea to a generous family in Kyle who thought their $1,200 stimulus check would be more useful in someone else’s pocket; someone who needed it more than them. 

Along with the original $1,200, Mano Amiga collected $800 from the San Marcos Unitarian Universalist Fellowship and a $5,000 grant from the Four Freedoms Fund. They hope to raise $14,000 to provide $200 in cash assistance to each of the Hays County 50 families who have demonstrated need. They anticipate more may apply.

The organization has already distributed funds to 25 families who reside in Hays County and were denied the Federal Stimulus Package due to where they or their spouse were born.

“If the wife is a U.S. citizen and the husband wasn't that would mean they did not qualify or if the parents weren't citizens and the children were born in the U.S. then they still wouldn't get any help,” said Dayann Pazmino, Mano Amiga’s Immigration Coordinator. Many tax-paying citizens were not eligible either due to birthplace discrimination. 

The same families who did not qualify for stimulus likely also are not eligible for SNAP, Medicaid or unemployment benefits. 

“The people who received funds from Mano Amiga differ from those who received stimulus in the sense that they are barred from many programs that are so essential in these times,” Pazmino said. “Everyone is struggling, but it's hitting these families harder because they cannot apply for unemployment or other programs that are helpful.”

The 50 families who qualified each have an average of five family members; totaling 250 Hays County residents that the fund could impact if they reach their goal. 

“We know there are countless more in Hays County who were denied critical aid by our government during this catastrophe,” Pazmino said.

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