In an effort to bring you the best information and resources to deal with this crisis, Team Sigel has put together this list of resources.
Click on the topics below, or scroll down the page.
- Questions on COVID-19
- Food Insecurity
- Mental Health Resources
- Financial help for small businesses, non-profits and workers
- Resources for Immigrants and Refugees
- Resources for parents
- Helping the most vulnerable
Updates from Trusted Local, State, Federal & Global Health Institutions
Questions on Coronavirus
Massachusetts Department of Public Health has activated Mass211 to support residents throughout the ongoing response to COVID-19. Massachusetts residents can call 2-1-1 any time for real-time COVID-19 information, resources and referrals in multiple languages, or if you have a general COVID-19 question. This resource is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Mass 211 responders field calls and directs callers to services most appropriate for their needs. Toll-free number: 1-877-211-MASS (6277); Hearing impaired: 508-370-4890 TTY.
Massachusetts Mask Order – Starting May 6th, Governor Baker is requiring everyone over the age of 2 to wear a mask if they go out in public. Read this article by Paul Singer from WGBH for the 10 things to know about this order.
The State has created a portal to donate or sell PPE or other materials to protect medical professionals. If you have masks, gowns, sanitizers or other materials you would like to donate click here. The portal also has a sign up for health professionals who want to volunteer.
Give Blood Today
American Red Cross and hospitals around the country are experiencing a blood shortage. It’s important that healthy Americans give blood to ensure we keep patients healthy. Click here to go to the American Red Cross to learn how to safely give blood during this difficult time.
If you are on MassHealth, you are fully covered for testing and treatment of COVID-19. MassHealth has extended open enrollment to April 25th, if you do not have insurance sign up today. For more info, click here.
If anyone in the 4th District or in the Commonwealth is struggling with food insecurity, especially as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, here are a few resources available to you:
- Call Project Bread Food Source Hotline (1-800-645-8333), a toll-free hotline that can connect you to food resources in your community. Consider making a donation as well.
- Meals on Wheels is working hard to help seniors across the country.
4th Congressional District Pantries and Programs
- Hebron Food Pantry, Inc. (11 Sanford Street)
- AACC/ Food ‘n Friends (Several Locations)
- AACC/ Family Café (Several Locations)
- Self Help Attleboro (95 Pine Street)
- Murray UU Church Food Pantry (505 North Main Street)
- St. Joseph’s Food Cellar (112 Palm Street)
- The Citizens For Citizens Food Pantry in Fall River will be open on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 8:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. – for more info click here.
- Franklin Food Pantry (43 W. Central Street)
- The free breakfast and lunch program for students and adults in Milford will be available from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m., and 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Monday through Friday in the Memorial School parking lot, at 12 Walnut St – for more info click here.
- Millis Ecumenical Food Pantry (142 Exchange Street)
- Needham Community Council Food Pantry (570 Hillside Avenue)
- The Centre Street Food Pantry in Newton is serving families in Newton, Brookline, Brighton, Needham, Waltham, Watertown, Wellesley, West Roxbury – Food pickup is Tuesday from 2:30-6:30pm – for more info click here.
- Norfolk Food Pantry (63 Rockwood Road)
- ACC/Food ‘n Friends (Several Locations)
- UMC/Living Bread Food Pantry (16 East Bacon Street)
- Wellesley Food Pantry (207 Washington Street)
- Wrentham Food Pantry (1 East Street)
Other food pantry info can be found here.
Checking in on Elderly
People who are elderly risk the severest consequences as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. As the COVID-19 spreads, we must make sure we are protecting our elderly, but also helping them feel connected. We need to ensure social distancing does not mean social isolation, as poor health outcomes are associated with isolation for many older Americans.
- Do not visit assisted living facilities, nursing homes or other areas or facilities where the elderly are living, unless it is for health or essential-service related reasons.
- Use technology like FaceTime, Zoom, Skype, Snapchat and others to communicate with family members who are older or just people you know who are older.
- Help make calls to elderly residents you know or to assisted living facilities to speak with someone that may not have outside visitors.
- Check on your elderly neighbors who are living at home to make sure they have the supplies, food, and medicine they need.
- Send donations of playing cards, board games, books, and other useful toys or gadgets to older family members or assisted living facilities so that the residents can occupy their time with activities.
A call, email or check-in can go a long way to make sure the older Americans in our community are not isolated and feel they are part of the community but are also safe from the COVID-19 outbreak. Let’s work together and take care of EVERYone in our community.
Mental Health Resources
Social distancing does not have to mean social isolation. If you are feeling alone or overwhelmed by the COVID-19 outbreak, there are organizations with volunteers available 24/7 to listen, talk and help you get through this difficult time –
- @Samaritansinc – You can call or text anytime at (877) 870-4673.
- Crisis Text Line – Text HOME to 741741
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – You can call 1-800-273-8255
Financial Help for Small Businesses, Nonprofits and Workers
Helpful Resources and Guides
The National Consumer Law Center has created a page that seeks to list the actions federal and state agencies as well as businesses are taking to aid consumers in light of the COVID-19 epidemic. Only officially announced actions are listed. Visit the page here.
The National Association of Consumer Advocates is available for anyone with consumer rights questions and has helpful resources and trainings during this pandemic.
Attorney General Maura Healey has introduced a resource guide for Massachusetts to protect consumers and employees. View the guide here.
The U.S. Small Business Administration’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program is accepting applications from Massachusetts businesses.
Unfortunately as this crisis unfolds, it is becoming more evident that many people will experience job insecurity. The Federal and State Government are currently working on legislation to supplement and speed up the processing of unemployment claims to help families through this time.
The Massachusetts Department of Unemployment Assistance has provided guidance for workers and small businesses here.
Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) is a new program that provides up to 39 weeks of unemployment benefits to individuals who are unable to work because of a COVID-19-related reason but are not eligible for regular or extended unemployment benefits. These workers include:
- Self-employed individuals, including gig workers, freelancers, and independent contractors
- Individuals seeking part-time employment
- Claimants that have an insufficient work history to qualify for benefits
- Claimants that have been laid off from churches and religious institutions and are not eligible for benefits under state law
Families First Coronavirus Response Act
On Wednesday, Trump signed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act after it was amended by the House and Senate to reach bi-partisan agreement. Though weaker than the original bill, it does provide important funding for families and workers. It also ensures free COVID-19 testing. To read the latest, click here.
The Massachusetts Attorney General is accepting online complaints related to minimum wage, overtime payment, sick time, meal breaks, and worker protections. You can file a complaint with the Fair Labor Division here or call the hotline at 617-727-3465.
If your family does not have access to the internet at home, Xfinity WiFi hotspots are free for everyone so you can stay connected during the COVID-19 outbreak and give your children opportunities to connect to educational resources while they are home from school. For a map of Xfinity WiFi hotspots, click here. Once at a hotspot, you can select the “xfinitywifi” network name in the list of available hotspots and then launch a browser.
The Attorney General’s Office issued an emergency regulation to address price gouging of necessary goods and services like hand sanitizer, face masks, and gloves during the current public health crisis. To report price gouging, file a complaint with the AG’s office.
Resources for Immigrants and Refugees
It’s important that we make our immigrant and refugee communities feel safe right now. Share these pages to those you know who need assistance:
- MIRA has put together a list of resources to help our immigrant and refugee populations.
- Lawyers for Civil Rights has put together a multilingual page of resources as well.
Important notice for Public Charge and Immigration Issues
Seeking testing, treatment or preventative care for coronavirus will not be used against anyone in any public charge analysis. Remember that using public benefits will not impact you if you are a green card holder, U.S. citizen, refugee, asylum seeker, VAWA recipient, TPS holder, or holder of a U or T visa. Many benefits, including CHIP, WIC, LiHEAP, SSDI, free school lunch, and disaster relief, are not included in public charge. You can always call LCR’s English-Spanish public charge hotline at 617-988-0609 with any questions.
If you are undocumented and need healthcare, you may be eligible for MassHealth Limited, which provides care for medical emergencies, including visits to an emergency room. Public charge does not apply to MassHealth Limited. Visit the MA Connector or call 1-800-841-2900 for English and Spanish service.
Driver’s Licenses (RMV)
The RMV will implement a 60-day extension to the current expiration date for Class D, Class DMs, ID cards, and Learner’s Permits within the RMV system. All individuals with expired/expiring credentials dated between March 1, 2020 and April 30, 2020, will continue to have an active status until sixty (60) days after the expiration date printed on their credential. This does not apply to immigrants whose end of stay in the United States is the same as the expiration date on their driver’s license, ID card, or Learner’s Permit.
Resources for Parents
The Department of Early Education and Development has information about childcare providers for emergency workers who are required to work through the pandemic for the safety of the entire Commonwealth.
Talking to your kids about the outbreak
As a parent of 4 kids who are now home, I know how tough this time is for parents. It’s important to control your anxiety while talking to your kids and to have a conversation with them about the virus and how they are feeling.
Here are a few resources we found helpful:
- A video that the MGH Clay Center released on how to talk to your kids about Coronavirus
- “Coronavirus And Parenting: What You Need To Know Now” – via WGBH
- “The coronavirus pandemic is closing schools. How will kids eat?” – via CNN
Educating your kids
As schools are closed, in many cases it has fallen on parents to be the primary educators for their children. Many organizations have provided helpful educational material like:
- Virtual Field Trips – There are 30 amazing virtual field trips with links you can take with your kids or by yourself from home, including the San Diego Zoo, Museo del Louvre, The Great Wall of China, and Yellowstone National Park.
- Khan Academy – Especially good for maths and computing for all ages but other subjects at Secondary level. Note this uses the U.S. grade system but it’s mostly common material.
- Futurelearn – Free to access 100s of courses, only pay to upgrade if you need a certificate in your name (own account from age 14+ but younger learners can use a parent account).
- Blockly – Learn computer programming skills – fun and free.
- Scratch – Creative computer programming
- Ted Ed – All sorts of engaging educational videos
- National Geographic Kids – Activities and quizzes for younger kids.
Helping the Most Vulnerable
We will be posting resources on how to help others during this time below. If you have any other opportunities to help others that you would like to share, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Sharon – if you want to help or if you formed a group of volunteers who want to help, please contact the Health Department at 781-784-1500 x 1143 to join the Medical Reserve Corps. This is a group of medical professionals and non-medical participants who are properly credentialed and trained to assist with support services, food delivery, prescription pick-up, etc.
- The State has created a portal to donate or sell PPE or other materials to protect medical professionals. If you have masks, gowns, sanitizers or other materials you would like to donate click here. The portal also has a sign up for health professionals who want to volunteer.