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Sharing Extra Money in a San Francisco Neighborhood

Many of us think of our neighbors as being equals in privilege and social standing. After all, we can afford to live in roughly the same area, right? But what if you looked around and saw that you had more financial gifts than some of your neighbors?

For Andrea Pien, a 33-year-old college counselor at a high school in San Francisco, this realization led her to a hopeful decision: she wanted to share her resources. Pien’s job was secure, and she enjoyed an inheritance from her father’s success in the biotech industry, so she decided to post on Nextdoor:

If money is short, message me. Hi neighbors, if you will be missing a paycheck/contract work, or if money is tight for food and supplies, message me your Venmo@ and I will send you 20 dollars, no questions asked,” she wrote.

So far, Pien has given away about $400 to her neighbors, and she expects to share more. “Part of being a good ally is supporting my neighbors who maybe don’t have the same privilege I do,” she told Reader’s Digest in March.

Pien was inspired to give based on her association with Resource Generation, an organization of “young people with wealth” who are “committed to the equitable distribution of wealth, land, and power.”

She looked around her neighborhood and saw that many of her neighbors don’t get a regular paycheck and were struggling financially. “With the hysteria around coronavirus, there is an inclination to feel a lot of scarcity, which results in hoarding, but there is also a way to look at it from a perspective of generosity, and that’s why I posted on Nextdoor,” she said.

Maybe you don’t have more money than your neighbors. Or maybe you don’t know them well enough yet to find out. But stories like Pien’s can remind us that every neighbor has something to share.

(Information for this blog taken from, “These Uplifting Stories of Neighbors Helping During Coronavirus Will Inspire You to Do the Same” by Jeremy Greenfield in the March 26, 2020 Reader’s Digest online.)