Community Issues

How SNL's Michael Che Is Honoring His Grandmother's Memory By Helping Others

She died after contracting coronavirus. Che is now vowing to making life a little easier for others affected by the pandemic.

Saturday Night Live start Michael Che, best known as co-anchor of SNL's Weekend Update, is mourning the loss of his grandmother to the coronavirus. And he's turning his grief into an act of kindness to honor her and help hundreds of others who may be struggling to make ends meet because of the pandemic.

Che revealed in a now-deleted Instagram post that his grandmother Martha died April 6 after contracting the virus. "I'm doing OK, considering. I'm obviously very hurt and angry that she had to go through all that pain alone," he wrote. "But I'm also happy that she's not in pain anymore."

Michael Che/Instagram

Che announced on his Instagram page late Wednesday that in his grandmother's "spirit and memory," he would pay one month's rent for 160 residents of the public housing high rise where his grandmother once lived. He also called out New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and music mogul Diddy.

"It's crazy to me that residents of public housing are still expected to pay their rent when so many new yorkers can't even work," he said. "I know thats just a drop in the bucket. so i really hope the city has a better plan for debt forgiveness for all the people in public housing, AT THE VERY LEAST."

On this past Saturday's show, Che acknowledged his grandmother's death, and signed off "for Weekend Update, I'm Martha's grandbaby."

Weekend Update: New Twinkies Cereal and Joe Exotic Movie - SNL

We don't know how much it costs to pay a month's rent for 160 people. What we do know is that a month's rent is huge for low-income folks who may have been debating whether to pay the rent or put food on the table. We can't think of a better way to honor someone you love by making a difference for others.

How can you start something good?

None of us is likely to be in the position to pay rent for 160 people. But even the smallest kindness could make a real difference for someone else.

Are you supporting your local food bank to help unemployed parents struggling to feed their families, or senior citizens on fixed incomes who have to choose between buying medicine or food? If not, maybe now's the time to start. If you don't know your local food bank, check out Feeding America which helps fund local pantries.

How about families finding it hard to pay their utility bills? Many communities have energy assistance plans. In Pittsburgh, that's the Dollar Energy Fund. If you don't live in Pittsburgh, use your favorite search engine to look for "energy assistance programs near me" and see if individual or groups of local utilities have programs you can donate to.

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