So, I saw a picture-post on Facebook about a phone number to call for emergency rent assistance. But when I followed the link to United Way, I discovered that that phone number is for residents of Indianapolis only. But the link is for everyone!
So here is a link to United Way! This goes directly to the Covid-19 Community Relief and Response Fund.
“To support this rapidly escalating need, United Way Worldwide has created the COVID-19 Community Response and Recovery Fund. Our Fund supports communities struggling in the wake of the new virus, by supporting local United Ways and 211, the go-to information resource in times of crisis. Every year, 211 specialists answer 12 million requests by phone, text, chat and email to connect people with disaster, food, housing, utility, health care resources and more. There is no other network in the country with a similar pulse on America’s needs. So far, some 20 statewide 211 operations have been activated, and 211 is working closely with health officials all over the country to provide accurate updates to the public.
NOTE: You can dial 211 to speak to someone about local assistance at any time. The 1-866-211-9966 number you may have seen on social media is only available for residents of Indianapolis. Please be aware that financial assistance related to COVID-19 is not available for individuals everywhere.“
Here also is a link to the Seattle Foundation’s Covid-19 response. They are “a coalition of philanthropy, government, and business partners has joined together to create a COVID-19 Response Fund that will rapidly deploy resources to community-based organizations at the frontlines of the coronavirus outbreak in the Puget Sound region.”
And here is a link to Modest Needs. They provide grants that go to “the persons in the United States who’ve been most directly impacted by this pandemic are hourly employees – people who generally aren’t paid if a business can’t open.”
Another suggestion that was made to me was supporting local community organizations that provide childcare for kids out of school. The one pointed out to me was The Boys and Girls Club of America.
Other things to keep in mind are your favorite Arts Organizations that cannot go through with planned plays, concerts, dance recitals, and galleries. If you have the time and energy and resources, check in with your favorite–local or national–see how they’re doing, what they might need.
Also, there are your local small businesses–coffee houses, restaurants. One suggestion that was made to me was to buy gift certificates to these places: keep revenue coming in–and give yourself a fabulous night out at some future date.
My mom’s favorite local coffee shop, Grinders, has curbside pickup for coffee orders. What’s your favorite coffee shop?
My favorite bookshop in Westerly Rhode Island–the Savoy–is doing house deliveries, curbside pickup, and they also ship books–for free–anywhere! If you don’t have a favorite Indie bookstore, consider supporting them!
In New York City, also hard-hit, there are several Indie bookstores we ADORE. The children’s bookstore Books of Wonder hosted Carlos’s SAL AND GABI BREAK THE UNIVERSE debut, as well as several events and panels last year. They’re so great.
And Astoria Bookshop, which hosted my DESDEMONA AND THE DEEP book launch, though closed to browsing, is open “11am-7pm each day for online, phone and pick up orders.’
I hope this helps! Please feel free to post your favorite links to relief funds or local businesses in the comments–and if you have a little story about them, so much the better!