Flint Community Offers Aid to Those Affected by the COVID-19 Outbreak

Stores+across+the+country+are+using+their+access+to+wholesale+goods+providers+to+open+improptu+grocery+stores.+

Courtesy of the Santa Clarita Valley Signal

Stores across the country are using their access to wholesale goods providers to open improptu grocery stores.

Gracie Warda, Writer

The COVID-19 outbreak and consequent closings have left an impact on those all across the US. With many workplaces shut down and young children home from school, many people are struggling during this time. Luckily, there are a number of resources available for those who need it.  

School districts, for example, are using their resources to help students and their families, including offering meals to those on free or reduced lunch and allocating laptops to students who may not have computers at home. Each district is handling the situation differently, so reach out to yours for more specific details.

The State of Michigan has also expanded unemployment benefits for those affected. 

According to a press release by Governor Gretchen Whitmer, unemployment benefits have now been expanded to include anyone with family care responsibilities, anyone who has been infected or has a prior medical condition and those without paid family or medical leave.

In addition to expanding the number of people who qualify for unemployment, the benefits themselves have also been expanded. According to the same press release, “benefits will be increased from 20 to 26 weeks”, “The application eligibility period will be increased from 14 to 28 days” and registration will be restricted to the web only. 

These resources were available starting on March 16. Unemployed workers will now receive benefits for 39 weeks after approval as opposed to the previous 26. 

“While we work together to mitigate the spread of coronavirus, we must do everything we can to help working families,” said Governor Gretchen Whitmer. “This executive order will provide immediate relief to those who can’t go to work, and who rely on their paycheck to put food on the table for themselves and their families. I urge everyone to make smart choices at this time, and to do everything in their power to keep themselves and their loved ones safe.” 

There are also companies that have offered discounts and free resources for those affected by the outbreak. One such company is Comcast, which is offering free wifi hotspots around the country. The Xfinity website shows a map of those available across the United States. 

AT&T is offering wifi for just $10 per month for certain low-income families. They are also “Offering two months of free service to new customers who order Access by April 30, 2020 … Expanding eligibility based on income and to households participating in National School Lunch Program/Head Start …Waiving all home internet data overage fees,” according to their website

Charter Spectrum is offering “free Spectrum broadband and Wi-Fi access for 60 days to households with K-12 and/or college students who do not already have a Spectrum broadband subscription …” according to a press release on their website

As far as food assistance goes, there are many options for those in need. 

The UM-Flint Wolverine Food Den remains open during the pandemic, providing service to students facing food insecurity. 

The Food Bank of Eastern Michigan also remains open at certain locations. There is an interactive map on their website which indicates agency locations in the area, though some may be closed during the pandemic. If children out of school are in need, the food bank also provides assistance to students in over 20 districts

COVID-19 has had implications across the globe, and many people are facing insecurity right now. Local resources are one way to maintain normalcy during this questionable time.