It's been a difficult year financially for many Americans, and the second round of government stimulus checks during the pandemic will help pay for groceries, transportation, shelter, utilities or other necessities.

In late December, President Donald Trump signed a $900 billion COVID-relief and government spending bill that includes the new stimulus checks.

Individuals who earn less than $75,000 are to receive up to $600, and couples who file taxes jointly and earn less than $150,000 will get up to $1,200. A family of four could get an additional $600 for each of two dependents, bringing their total to $2,400.

Spending stimulus money to buy necessities, pay off bills or even on discretionary items will help get the economy back on track.

But if form holds true from the stimulus checks issued in June, a significant number of Americans will sink the money into savings or investments.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, of the 249 million households that received June stimulus checks, 12% intended to hold onto most of the money.

These are the lucky ones with healthy bank balances, secure jobs and few bills to pay.

While there's nothing wrong with saving your stimulus check this time around to make your future more secure, you could choose another path: donating the money to charity to help the less fortunate get through these lean times.

Food banks, homeless shelters, soup kitchens and other local nonprofits will help the money make a difference for those in your community who are suffering through the recession triggered by the novel coronavirus.

It's a new year, and it's high time that we all prioritize kindness and service to others.

It might be the best way to use your stimulus check. You can serve the greater good. And you're guaranteed to feel good about yourself when you help others.

That's something we could all use — a boost of happiness to help us get through these difficult times.

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