COVID-19: HOW TO HELP

During this unprecidented time of need and crisis, The Bridge Community Impact Team is working around the clock to connect our community with resources for help, and organizations that are looking for volunteers & donations.

Bridge Community Impact Team Efforts during COVID-19 Pandemic:

  • Assisted in the coordination of food from Portage Public Schools (PPS) to Colonial Acres children.
  • Accessing Community Needs through increased communications with City of Kalamazoo Officials and key non-profit organizations.
  • Working on gathering critical volunteer opportunities to keep vital community organizations operable during COVID-19 crisis.
  • Working on putting a list together of community resources for those in need. 
  • Communicating and assessing needs of our Bridge Community Impact organization  partners.

Ongoing partnerships that the Bridge currently financially supports:

  • 12 Baskets
  • Kalamazoo Gospel Mission
  • Wings of God
  • Jesus Loves Kzoo
  • Youth For Christ (Tyler Gjeltema)
  • Cru (Andy Nichols)
  • Young Life (General Fund)
  • Young Life/Capernaum (Meredith Dunn)
  • Tree of Life

How Can You Help While Staying Safe?

1. Make medical masks from home for hospitals, emergency rooms, food pantry volunteers, etc.

For more info on types needed, patterns, etc. visit  The Southwest Michigan Mask Project 

2. Hospitals are in need of Personal Protective Equipment Donations

Hospitals are in need of Personal Protective Equipment donations:

  • Disposable face masks
  • N95 masks, sometimes called respirators
  • Eye protection, including face shields and safety goggles
  • Disposable gowns
  • Disposable gloves, especially non-latex
  • Disposable surgical caps
  • Disposable foot covers
  • Wipes: bleach or antimicrobial
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Bleach 

Click one of the options below for med mask patterns and more information:

All donations must be dropped off in-person. Items that list expiration dates must be unexpired. It is essential that nobody involved in the creation, distribution or delivery of new/unused materials or homemade masks have any symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, cough, shortness of breath) or have recently been exposed to anyone experiencing these symptoms or who has been tested positive for COVID-19.

3. Volunteer for Organizations Providing Essential Services

Kalamazoo Gospel Mission (KGM)

KGM is an essential service and they have seen an increase in the number of people coming in for meals due to so many individuals due to the increase in unemployment related to COVID-19.

VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES

Kitchen
The KGM kitchen is open 6am-7pm, and most of the shifts revolve around meals. Breakfast shift is roughly 5:45am-7:45am, Lunch is 11am-1pm, and Dinner is 4pm-6pm. Due to limited space volunteers are capped at 10 people per meal, and if someone wants to come in between meal times and help clean and prepare food, that’s more than fine.

Children’s Programs
A daycare program for infants and toddlers and a program for our elementary and middle school children. Each area has a morning session from roughly 8am-11am, and an afternoon session from 12:30pm-3:30pm. There is limited space in the kid’s areas, so volunteers are limited to 2-3 people per shift for each group.

To volunteer, contact Matt Furrow at Volunteer@kzoogospel.org, or 269-245-2974 x203


DONATION NEEDS

  • Hand sanitizer
  • Sanitizing spray/wipes
  • Paper towels
  • Tissues
  • Toilet paper 
  • To-go boxes for meals (need because of having to limit how many people can sit in the cafeteria at one time). 

*Anyone interested is welcome to purchase these items online and ship them directly to KGM if they don’t feel comfortable leaving home. Financial donations can also be made through the  KGM website or by clicking here

 

Kalamazoo Loaves and Fishes (KLF)

KLF is distributing boxes of food out of their main location, delivering food to Senior Housing,and are also serving as Kalamazoo County’s Emergency Food Services for multiple Agencies. 

VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES

  • Building Boxes
  • Putting Orders Together
  • Possibly delivery at a later date

Volunteer Shifts: 9-11:30 a.m. or 1-3:00 p.m.

To volunteer, contact Ray at 269.488.2617 ext. 209.

DONATION NEEDS

  • Non-perishable food 
  • Jelly/Jam
  • Butter
  • Cooking Oil
  • Dried Spices/Herbs
  • Shelf-Stable/Powdered Milk
  • Infant Formula
  • Ensure®
  • Canned/Bagged Nuts
  • Granola Bars
  • Meals In A Box

Monetary donations can be made online here.

12 Baskets

12 Baskets will continue to distribute food at their Portage Road location via drive-up.  Food distribution schedule is as follows:

  • 2nd and 4th Saturdays each month from 8:30am – 12:00pm
  • 1st and 3rd Fridays each month from 4:00pm - 7:00pm

Monetary donations can be made online here.  

Red Cross 

Red Cross is  working to quickly identify and replace blood drives canceled due to workplace and school closures.

Visit their website to search for opportunities near you, and check back often as they are continuously adding new donation opportunities.

Right now, eligible and healthy donors are urged to make an appointment to provide lifesaving blood products to patients. Make an appointment today by clicking
here!

Ministry with Community

Ministry with Community is open for the homeless population seven days a week with current hours of 6:30am-11:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m.-4:30 p.m. At this time they are not looking for volunteers to serve meals and are limiting the building occupancy to 45 people. Sack lunches are being provided for those seeking meals. They are closed  for cleaning between 11:00a.m. - 12:00. Showers, laundry, and mail service are still available for those in need. 

Monetary donations can be made online here.

DONATION NEEDS

  • Individually wrapped snacks such as granola bars, breakfast bars, cracker sandwiches
  • Peanut butter
  • Bread

*Donations can be dropped off at the Ransom St. dock entrance. Visitors can ring the doorbell at that entrance and someone will be available to take donations. 

If you have any specific questions and concerns, please reach out to Executive Director, Kelly Henderson at khenderson@ministrywithcommunity.org

Senior Services

VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES

Senior Services is looking for volunteers to deliver meals for Meals on Wheels in the Kalamazoo area, with a larger need in the Battle Creek and Albion areas. There are nine routes in the Kalamazoo area. Volunteers are needed starting at 10:15 a.m. for 1.5-2 hours. Eighteen volunteers are needed in the Kalamazoo area each day Monday through Friday. 

*Volunteers must fill out an application and provide a copy of their driver's license before volunteering.

For more information, contact Volunteer Coordinator, Tracie Wheeler at (269) 382-0515 , ext 137

Monetary donations can be made online here.  

Salvation Army 

In this time of crisis, you can help The Salvation Army help those affected by COVID-19. The Salvation Army are there for the most vulnerable in our community. Those whose wages are gone, those who need food, and so many others who desperately need help and hope. We need your help now more than ever.

If you are able, please give online
here

United Way Disaster Relief Fund

The Disaster Relief Fund aims to ensure resources for planning in times of stability and for recovery when disaster strikes. Dollars are directed to 501c3 organizations for use that may include direct services, coordination of relief efforts, coordination of disaster relief volunteers, and costs related to building and sustaining disaster relief infrastructure.

The current COVID-19 crisis is having widespread impact on families, students, employees, businesses and schools, and the Disaster Relief Fund has been activated in order to address emerging needs related to the outbreak. Emergency response consortiums in Battle Creek and Kalamazoo are meeting by teleconference regularly to quickly identify needs and inform decisions on where to direct funds. These groups include United Way staff, 2-1-1 staff, nonprofit leaders, government, school and city officials. All dollars raised through UW’s Disaster Relief Fund remain local.

Note: Guided by our team of experts and their collaborative efforts with area organizations, your gift is automatically applied where it's needed most in the Battle Creek and Kalamazoo region. If you wish to limit your dollars to a geographic region, you may do so by checking a box during the donation process.

Monetary donations can be made here.

 

For more volunteer opportunities throughout Michigan, please click HERE!

 

4. Things to Think About

  • Call and check on your people, especially those who battle with depression, are in recovery, sick or elderly.
  • If you’re going to the store, call an elderly or high risk family member or neighbor and offer to pick up groceries and essential needs items for them. 

  • Send an encouraging voicemail, email, or social media message to”essential employees”;  healthcare workers, civil service employees, delivery drivers, first responders, military personnel, etc.

  • Have a couple pizzas delivered to your neighborhood police/fire department, single mom, elderly neighbor, etc. (Don’t forget to add the tip!)

  • Be thoughtful of others, don’t hoard food and other necessities, we’re all in this together!

Do You Have Needs?

We understand that these are unprecedented times and you may have needs that you’ve never experienced before. We’ve put together a list of community resources with links to help make things a little easier.
This list is not intended to be fully representative of all community resources nor is it intended to be an endorsement. To maintain the integrity of the embedded links, sharing electronically is recommended.

2-1-1 is the local organizing entity for resources in our area. To get connected to local resources, call 2-1-1’s  24/7 local hotline that will connect you with local resources, especially related to food insecurity, child care, and issues with housing during the crisis. They will connect callers to nonprofit that are receiving emergency funds. You can locate a list of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Resources here.

FOOD

The Michigan Department of Education (MDE) has announced that an online map has been developed for families to find locations where meals are being provided during this period of school closure. The map can be found at: www.michigan.gov/meetupeatup, and will be updated twice each day during the closure period.

These meals, served under the program called Unanticipated School Closure Summer Food Service Program (SFSP), are available to all children at no cost. Up to two meals per day may be served to all children ages 0-18. This includes students with disabilities ages 18-26 with an active individual education program (IEP). This program assists Michigan’s school districts and community partners to ensure that kids receive nutritious meals during the school closure announced by Governor Gretchen Whitmer on March 12, 2020.

Schools and sponsors that participate in Unanticipated School Closure SFSP help ensure children do not experience a lapse in food security now that schools are closed. 

We’ve provided a link to the following districts, so that you can access your district’s sites easily. If you do not see your district, please access the Michigan Map, also below.


SHELTER
TEMPORARY ASSISTANCE

Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) has several programs to help you and your family with temporary assistance when times are rough. To apply for Emergency Relief (Home, utilities, burial), Medicaid, Cash Assistance, Food Assistance, or Childcare Assistance visit MDHHS.

UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS
Online applications are recommended because of increased call volumes in the past week, but those seeking to file a claim for benefits can also call 1-866-500-0017 to apply, Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., or visit the nearest local unemployment office.  

To file a claim, you need:

  • Your Social Security Number, driver's license number, state identification or MARVIN PIN (if you have one)
  • If you are not a U.S. citizen or national, you will need your alien registration number and the expiration date of your work authorization.
  • Names and addresses of employers you have worked for in the past 18 months, including quarterly gross earnings and the last date of employment with each.

Your application for benefits will be evaluated to determine whether you are eligible for benefits and how much money you may receive. 

Michigan increased unemployment benefits for workers to 26 weeks on March 16 as a result of the coronavirus crisis.

​The state also expanded a work-share program for qualifying business that could help avoid mass layoffs by splitting the cost of employees. A participating business could scale back worker hours and ask unemployment insurance to make up the difference in lost pay.

Employers with questions about workers’ unemployment may contact Michigan’s Unemployment Insurance Agency, Office of Employer Ombudsman at 1-855-484-2636.

https://www.bridgemi.com/economy/how-apply-unemployment-benefits-michigan-amid-coronavirus-crisis

CHILDCARE FOR ESSENTIAL WORKERS

The Kalamazoo YWCA is offering daily options for childcare for essential personnel. They have set prices to allow families to pre-select scholarship rate options to eliminate the scholarship application process. If families need even more support they just need to contact the YMCA.

For more information call 269-345-9622 or visit contact www.kzooymca.org.

CHILD CARE PROVIDER REFERRALS FOR ESSENTIAL WORKERS AFFECTED BY COVID-19

Provides a web based child care referral system for essential workers to locate child care providers while working during the COVID-19 crisis. Availability of child care centers is regularly monitored and updated based on capacity & program changes, etc (including any COVID-19 cases).

TRANSPORTATION

Kalamazoo Metro Transit

Metro and Metro Connect is offering free fare at this time but are asking that you only use the service for essential travel only (Groceries, Rx pick-up, etc.) Rear door boarding only on fixed route, use social spacing when riding and limit interaction with driver.  

For more information, please call (269) 337-8222 

ESSENTIAL SUPPLIES

DIAPERS, WIPES, AND FORMULA

Alternatives of Kalamazoo will be closed until April 13 but will continue to provide emergency baby supplies by pick-up appointments on Thursday’s only. Alternatives of Battle Creek will also be arranging pick-up appointments on Monday. Please call the emergency phone numbers between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Monday-Thursday to make an appointment and for more information. 

Call 269-345-1720 Kalamazoo 269-425-1141 (Battle Creek) 


ADULT INCONTINENCE SUPPLIES

MI Medicaid Adult Incontinence Supplies


MASKS FOR HEALTHCARE WORKERS & OTHER ESSENTIAL WORKERS WORKING WITH THE PUBLIC

If you are an essential worker and in need of a med mask, contact The SW MI Med Masks Project here

OTHER INFO

For the most up-to-date information about COVID-19 in Michigan and surrounding counties:

Michigan's Department of Health and Human Services Coronavirus Hotline

Michigan's DHHS has a statewide hotline to respond to health-related questions about coronavirus. The hotline is open seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

It is important to practice self care during these times; physical, spiritual, and especially, emotional care is very important right now. Here are some links from organizations on dealing with stress and anxiety during the COVID-19 outbreak:

ONLINE MEETING & SUPPORT GROUPS

With many churches and organizations closing due to COVID-19, that means many Recovery Support Groups are also closed. Don’t worry there are resources available to you. 

ECONOMIC INJURY DISASTER LOANS FOR COVID-19

Provides low interest Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) to small businesses or private, non-profit organizations that suffer substantial economic injury as a direct result of the declared disaster Covid-19 pandemic. EIDLs can be used for fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can't be paid because of the disaster's impact.

COVID-19 EMERGENCY FINANCIAL RELIEF PROGRAM

Provides financial assistance to all Veterans, active military service members, and those currently serving in the Reserves and the National Guard who are experiencing a financial setback due to the negative economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The grant amount will support 1 month of payment up to $1500 in the following areas: Rent, Mortgage, Auto Loan/Lease, Utilities (Electric, Water, Heat). All checks will be sent directly to the creditor or landlord after the grant is approved. The Foundation can only support one emergency financial request per household.

** If you cannot afford to pay your Consumers Energy or City of Kalamazoo Water Bill, your services will not be suspended during the COVID-19 crisis. You will continue to be charged and will have to pay at a later date but your service will not be disrupted at this time. The same applies to evictions due to non-payment. You will be continued to be charged but no evictions will be made during this time. The IRS has also extended the tax deadline in 2020 through July 15 (extra 3 months to pay)**

For questions, comments, or concerns, please reach out to Community Impact Director, Melody Woods at Melody@thebridgeportage.org

 

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Melody Woods

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