MADISON (WKOW) -- The $1.9 trillion stimulus package, which includes $1,400 payments to most Americans, has been working slowly through Washington for the past several weeks.
But a program at a Madison church is working to help people now.
"Quite a few of my members have expressed that, 'I've been furloughed. I only work four days a week now. Or, I'm only working three days a week," said Rev. Dr. Marcus Allen.
He's the pastor at Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Madison -- a church that, starting this week, has been rolling out stimulus payments of its own.
"Trying to get $500 to 50 people for those who have proof that they've been furloughed or experiencing some type of pay reduction," Rev. Allen said.
The "stimulus package" is open to anyone in Dane County who meets those criteria. Rev. Allen says it's made possible with $25,000 in donations form the community. The church has been planning it since the fall, so Rev. Allen says it's not exactly a response to the federal government working so slowly on its stimulus package -- though the name is catchy. Rather, he says it's a way to address a need in the community, and help out people who otherwise wouldn't ask for it.
"They'd be like, 'Somebody else needs it more than me,'" Rev. Allen said. "So they wouldn't apply for it. So we set this up just for those people."
So far, Rev. Allen says they've already helped 30 of the 50 people they have money for now. He says they could definitely help more people with more donations.
Rev. Allen said he's glad the church is in a financial situation to help like this, but as the pandemic keeps squeezing people tighter, we should all help out however we can.
"We all have a responsibility to take care of the least, the lost, the left out, the left behind, the disenfranchised, the disinherited," he said. "And that's for all people. That's what I believe."
You can apply for the Mt. Zion COVID-19 Relief Stipend by CLICKING HERE.
Rev. Allen says the church is also in the process of building a Family Life Center at its location on Madison's south side. The building will help the church with programs including after school programs, mental health services and its food pantry. He's asking anyone who is interested in donating to help make that a reality to contact the church.