Lifestyle

Where Can Texans Turn to Find Help or Volunteer in the Pandemic?

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In the midst of the COVID-19 and Coronavirus pandemic fears, Texas schools are closed and thousands are staring down the barrel of possible layoffs. Many have found themselves without income, trying to ride out the social-distancing requirements at home, without access to necessities. In response to this, groups of volunteers and community organizations have been making efforts to help. And you can too! Local food pantries, food banks, and school districts are offering free meal services. They’re in need of food donations as well as volunteers, as the need increases. There are also services offering housing needs support and help with free internet. Here are some Texas resources for those who require access or wish to reach out to volunteer in some fashion.

1. Food

Where Can Texans Turn to Find Help or Volunteer in the Pandemic?

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The Meals on Wheels Texas website is a great place to search for local chapters that deliver meals to the elderly or arrange for meal pickup. These chapters are also in need of volunteers and specific donations to help.

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) gives those who qualify money toward the purchase of food. In addition, the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) offers help for women who are pregnant and families with kids under the age of 5.

The Feeding Texas website provides information on member food banks providing free groceries as well as information on where to register for SNAP benefits. They too are requesting donations toward the COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund, and their local organizations are in need of food as well as monetary donations and volunteers.

Little Free Pantry provides details on local pantries that provide resources as well as food, and a map of locations is available here or you can work with them to list your own pantry if wish to start one.

The Salvation Army also provides services that include curbside pickup for groceries, shelter assistance, and addiction services. You can donate directly on their website.

For students, the Texas Education Agency has created the Texas Students MealFinder Map listing area education agency facilities that are serving meals in Texas communities. Addresses, dates, and times are included.

2. Employment

Where Can Texans Turn to Find Help or Volunteer in the Pandemic?

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Those who own small businesses in Texas are able to access help in the form of loans through the economic injury disaster loan program of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). These loans are both long-term and low-interest, and you can apply on the SBA website.

Those whose jobs have been affected by the pandemic can also apply for benefits through Unemployment Benefits Services online. You can also call them direct on weekdays, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., at 1-800-939-6631.

3. Additional Resources

Where Can Texans Turn to Find Help or Volunteer in the Pandemic?

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Those requiring legal help with respect to debt consolidation and collection, bankruptcy, unemployment, and civil legal matters can get assistance through the State Bar of Texas hotline at 1-800-504-7030.

Those in need of Wi-Fi can look to hotspots that have been provided for free by Comcast. Visit the link provided here for more information and select the “xfinitywifi” network.

Those requiring additional assistance can look to the Need Help Paying Bills website that has a list of organizations providing services in eviction prevention and housing support. There are also emergency housing resources and lists of homeless shelters.