ADEDOYIN OYELARAN, an American expatriate living in Taiwan, was watching the coronavirus spread across the United States when a he saw a Twitter thread by the writer Roxane Gay.

She had announced that she would help 10 needy people with $100 each to stock up on groceries, adding ''Maybe others can help if you have a little extra.''
Mr. Oyelaran decided to join in, and ended up sending four people $100 each.

''When I'm able to help others in need, it's also therapeutic for me,'' Mr. Oyelaran said. ''I don't feel helpless just sitting here watching people in need.''

He said he still gave money to traditional charities, like the United Way, but preferred the immediacy of giving directly, given urgent demand.

SHORTLY before midnight one day last week, the author, Shea Serrano was at his home in San Antonio, lying comfortably on his sofa watching television.

He could not shake a bad feeling about the low-wage and hourly workers losing desperately needed tips and shifts because of the coronavirus outbreak.

He felt he needed to do something. So he tweeted.

What for many would be a futile act - venting into a endless stream of chatter, jokes and invective -for Mr. Sernnano meant activating his dedicated following of  345,000 Twitter users.

By Sunday night he had raised $10,000 - not for a traditional charity like the Red Cross but to send directly to people who posted screenshots of student-loan statements and past-due medical bills

Mr. Serrano's tweet [which contained an obscenity] asked ''who has a bill coming up that they're not sure they're gonna be able to pay,'' then requested a copy off the bill and a connection to the payment app Venmo. It has been nearly 10,000 times.

''I knew as soon as they started closing stuff down, we were going to do something,'' Ms. Serranno, who published a 2015 best seller, ''The Rap Year Book,'' said. ''I'm acutely aware what it means if someone loses even one shift.

If you're making $7 an hour and you're going to get $56, that screws up a lot of stuff.''

His feed quickly turned into a collective outpouring of stories about chronic illnesses and looming debt burdens.

Mr. Serrano accepted some donors money and redistributed it to those in need; many of his followers sent money to complete strangers, using mobile payment systems like Venmo and PayPal.

As the  Twitter user JCSourWine put it after helping an expectant father with his car payment, ''All we got is each other.''

One Tuesday last, the Trump administration called for urgent action to speed $1 trillion into  the   economy, including sending $250 billion worth of checks to millions of Americans, as the government prepared its most powerful tools to fight the coronavirus pandemic and an almost certain recession.

''We want to go big,'' Mr. Trump said at a news conference at the White House, adding that he had instructed the Treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin, to introduce measures that would provide more immediate economic support than the payroll tax cut holiday he had been promoting.

''If people are bold enough to come out and ask strangers for help, they probably need it,'' Mr. Oyelaran said.

Ms. Gay ultimately doubled her initial pledge, giving 20 people $100 each to help with their bills. She described herself as ''really encouraged and heartened'' by her followers who donated others in need.

''People need immediate relief,'' she said. ''They need food. They need water. They need health care. They need prescriptions.''

The honor and serving of the latest global operational research on great actions and great servings, continues. The World Students Society thanks authors, Nicholas Kulish,  and contributing reporters : Alan Rappeport, Emily Cochrane and Nicolas Fandos.


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