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19 Ways to CARE During COVID-19

CARE (Connect. Advocate. Reflect. Engage.)
Jumpstart student sews masks for medical workers
A BSU Jumpstart student sews masks for medical workers
  1. Stay home. The most important way you can help your family and neighbors is to #PledgeToStayHome
  2. Wash your hands for 20-seconds, with soap! Check out this fun video for instruction and inspiration.
  3. Find ways to contribute to your community and the causes you care about. Use your skills and talents! Reach out to local schools, libraries, nursing homes, or other places in your community to ask how you can help. Can you:
    • Record live readings of story books for your local library?
    • Help pack and distribute lunches at your local schools?
    • Connect with elders through phone calls or card writing?
    • Send encouraging cards and letters to hospital patients and staff?
    • Make face masks for healthcare providers or your neighbors?
  4. Share stories of kindness, compassion, and service with others to keep spirits up. Check out #virtualkindness and other related hashtags for inspiration.
  5. Thank health care workers and first responders for helping care for all of us during this dangerous pandemic and support their safety by advocating for adequate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
  6. Connect and check in with family members, friends, and neighbors on a regular basis. Help them set up apps or use programs that allow you to see each other!
  7. Host a fun virtual event, like a potluck dinner, movie night, or coffee hour to model ways to engage with others safely and creatively.
  8. Donate blood to maintain a stable supply during the pandemic. Contact the American Red Cross or local blood banks to find donation sites that are open. 
  9. Support local restaurants by purchasing takeout and delivery.
  10. Support all local businesses by purchasing gift cards now for future use. Salons and stores that are closed can use the income now and you have something to look forward to using later!
  11. Get involved in elections and campaigns in your community, the Commonwealth and the country. Research which candidates support your values. Become familiar with the legislation and ballot questions.
  12. Complete your 2020 Census. Results from the 2020 Census will determine how government resources and political representation are distributed.
  13. Join community building efforts in your town. Recent examples are displaying hearts to show support for healthcare workers, putting teddy bears in windows as a scavenger hunt for children, and painting kindness rocks to be found on walks. Find out what your town is doing - and, if there isn’t a campaign, start one!
  14. Donate responsibly. Before starting any donation drive, contact the agency you intend to donate to and find out exactly what they need and how to best get the resource to the right place.
  15. Support fundraising campaigns through trustworthy organizations such as the United Way. The United Way will distribute funds raised to the most pressing issues in our communities.
  16. Learn about local resources and networks. If you are not local to the BSU surrounding areas, you may consider different groups in your community that you can reach out to in order to find out what is happening in your area.
    • Many United Ways in MA have volunteer databases for their local communities.
    • Connect with faith-based organizations in your area
    • Check out COVID-19 resources in your local city/town
    • Connect with a college or university closer to your area to find out more about the local organizations and volunteer efforts.
  17. Fight xenophobia and racism around the origin and spread of the coronavirus.
  18. Reach out to a local animal shelter or rescue to support animals during the pandemic. Do they need supplies, donations, are you able to foster a shelter animal?
  19. Connect with us at the Martin Richard Institute for Social Justice at BSU to find out what we are doing to support our communities.

Look at all of the ways we can be engaged and connected while we are physically distant for safety!

Social distancing doesn’t mean social disconnecting.

We will keep adding to this list so check back often.

Please reach out to volunteer@bridgew.edu with ideas, questions, or services you’d like us to know about.

#StayHome #StaySafe #StayConnected

Helpful Resources During the COVID-19 Pandemic

If you need help with something directly related to being a student or employee at BSU, please refer to the BSU COVID-19 page for resources and Answers to Frequently Asked Questions.

Bridgewater State University students experiencing economic stress can access Resources in Support of Excellence (RISE), an intranet resource for links to help with food, housing, clothing, furniture, fuel and energy assistance, financial aid and other financial support for educational expenses, transportation, health and well-being, family resources, legal resources, and tax preparation.

The Surviving COVID-19: #RealCollege Guide for Students from the Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice addresses common needs and offers resources for college students about how to get money, how to reduce your bills, how re-locate and find a place to live, and how to protect your health.

The#RealCollege Student Implications of The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) Policy Brief describes how the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) enacted on March 18, 2020 addresses the needs of families impacted by COVID-19 and offers new resources that may provide critical support for students to help continue their education.

The Massachusetts United Way and the Department of Public Health have designated Mass 211, a helpline staffed by trained volunteers, as the first place you should call with COVID-19 questions or requests for help. Dial 2-1-1 from your phone 24/7 for comprehensive information and referrals related to the virus, including information on where they can access flexible funds through the COVID-19 Family Support Fund.

If you’d prefer to go online to explore resources, visit MASS211.org.

For the latest Massachusetts COVID-19 information, visit the MA Department of Health.

Check out this list of COVID-19 Relief Funds across Massachusetts to help different communities, occupations, and employment sectors.

Boston Medical Center provides links to online recovery meetings, harm reduction guidance for people who use substances, tips for staying connected and safeguarding your addiction recovery, and family support resources.

Brockton Interfaith Community

As part of Brockton Interfaith Community's (BIC) mission to collaboratively promote racial and economic justice, BIC has launched 3 initiatives to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic:

  1. Community Survey - Designed to proactively reach out to the community to identify and connect those with needs and those who can help. The information collected in the survey is kept confidential and only seen by the small BIC staff managing the survey. The survey is available in 5 different languages (English, Cape Verdean Creole, Haitian Creole, Portuguese, and Spanish). Let BIC know your needs, what you can offer to help your neighbors, or both!
  2. Mutual Aid Brockton Facebook Page - People can submit posts to identify needs and to offer resources that can help those in need.
  3. Emergency Response Fund - People who want to donate or request funds from this emergency response fund can access it through the Mutual Aid Brockton Facebook page

Nearly all child care centers (centers and family child care homes) are temporarily closed, until May 4, 2020.

There are a few emergency drop-in child care centers still open, representing about 5% of normal child care capacity across the Commonwealth. Find a list of emergency drop-in child care in Massachusetts.  This is drop-in, temporary child care that is being made available to those who are working for essential business like healthcare and have no other option for care during this public health crisis. 

The Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care& has updated their website with FAQs, more information about Exempt Emergency Child Care Programs and specific information for child care providers, parents and guardians, and early educators.

If you are a victim of abuse, you are not alone. No one deserves to be abused. Help is available. Here’s a detailed list of resources for domestic violence programs for survivors.

  • MA SafeLink 24/7 Crisis Hotline: 877-785-2020
  • National Domestic Violence Hotline: 800-799-7233
  • Text to National Hotline: Text LOVEIS to 22522
  • National Sexual Assault Hotline: 800-656-4673

If you or someone you know is in immediate danger or is in an emergency, call 9-1-1.

If you can safely get out of the house for a walk, or to visit the store, you may be able to more freely message a help center, or get word to someone you trust for help.

Massachusetts Attorney General’s Fair Labor Division (FLD)

Frequently Asked Questions About COVID-19: Employee Rights and Employer Obligations, available in English, Chinese, Portuguese, and Spanish, for employees and employers

Guidance for Employers and Employees

Check out the Attorney General’s Guidance for Employers and Employees During the Coronavirus Public Health Emergency for answers to questions such as When to use sick time? What are the qualifications for unemployment? How to get a loan for small business?

The Greater Bridgewater Interfaith Council is a network of Greater Bridgewater communities of faith which offers opportunities for spiritual support, guidance, and exploration to the campus community of Bridgewater State University.

Project Bread’s FoodSource Hotline 1-800-645-8333 / TTY 1-800-377-1292  

Hotline Hours: Mon-Fri – 8AM-7PM | Sat – 10AM-2PM 

Project Bread’s FoodSource Hotline gives Massachusetts residents a “one-stop shop” for finding comprehensive aid in over 180 languages. With no need to leave the house and confidential support, hunger help is always just a phone call away. 

Project Bread’s FoodSource Hotline can help you with: 

  • Screening for SNAP eligibility. When it comes to hunger prevention, there is no federal program more effective then SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps). But many people are unaware of how or where to apply. Hotline Counselors screen every caller to determine if they are eligible for SNAP and help start them on the path to receiving assistance. College students can be eligible for SNAP.  

  • Providing SNAP application assistance. Completing a federal application can be tricky for just about everyone. SNAP’s application is no exception. Hotline counselors can give you over-the-phone assistance with submitting the application, answer questions, help you troubleshoot problems, and can follow up with you to make sure your benefits are approved.  

  • Connecting callers to local resources.  Hotline Counselors can connect you to resources available right in your own community, including food pantries, meal programs, fuel assistance, and more.  

Greater Boston Food Bank 

Use the Greater Boston Food Bank’s Partner Agency Locator tool to find meal programs and food pantries, the days and hours they’re open, and other information you need to learn more or to access food for you and your family.  

Greater Boston Food Bank - Need Food? PDF Guide 

Health Coverage Helpline 

Health Care For All’s HelpLine can be reached at 1-(800) 272-4232. The HelpLine is free and is here to answer your questions about health insurance in Massachusetts. The HelpLine is open from 9:00 am – 5:00 pm, Monday – Friday.  The HelpLine is staffed by specially-trained Health Care For All counselors with up-to-date information about health care coverage. It is not part of a government agency. They offer help in English, Portuguese, and Spanish.   

Massachusetts Health Connector 

The Massachusetts Health Connector is the state's Marketplace for health and dental insurance. For help applying for insurance coverage, check out MAhealthconnector.org/Help-Center

FamilyWize Medication Discount Card 

Local United Way organizations offer free prescription discount cards for anyone without insurance or if a medicine is not covered by your insurance. Accepted at over 60,000 pharmacies, you can download the FamilyWize app from the App Store on your smartphone or visit the FamilyWize website. 

On March 25, 2020, Governor Baker announced new funding under the Residential Assistance to Families in Transition (RAFT) program. This funding will provide short-term emergency financial assistance for families and individuals to stabilize their housing situations. This program will help eligible Homeowners and Renters by assisting with mortgage payments, rent, utility bills, and other costs. 

This special program targets households facing instability as a result of a COVID-19 (Coronavirus) related housing crisis due to a loss of wages or increase in expenses (e.g., medical expenses). 

Use the MassHousing website to find out which agency to contact to apply for this program, which is determined by where you currently live. Funding is limited, so act quickly to apply. 

If you need help finding a place to live: 

Housing Resources 

The Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) can help you find local housing resources, including local housing authorities, regional housing agencies, and emergency shelter providers. 

Emergency Assistance for Families 

If you are a family seeking shelter, please call 1-866-584-0653. With office closures until at least April 3, 2020, families with children seeking to apply for Emergency Assistance (EA) shelter only can apply by phone with the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD). More details about the Emergency Assistance program can be found here:MA Homeless Website 

Emergency Shelter Assistance for Individuals 

Use this website to get a list of individual homeless shelters in Massachusetts, maintained by the Department of Housing and Community Development. Choose your town from the menu at the top of the page and the site will display local resources. 

If you need help staying in the house or apartment you are renting: 

Emergency Eviction and Foreclosure Hotline 

City Life/Vida Urbana operates an emergency eviction and foreclosure hotline, in English and Spanish, at (617) 934-5006 and (617) 397-3773. Here’s template letter (in both English and Spanish) to send to your landlord or bank if you rent, if you have a mortgage, or if your ability to pay has been affected by the coronavirus. 

Tenant Rights During a Crisis 

The new federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act puts in place a 120-day eviction moratorium on certain federally-backed properties. You can learn more here

Greater Boston Legal Aid provides a help sheet (in both English and Spanish) for tenants facing eviction. Housing Court is currently closed except for emergency cases until May 4

If you need legal representation in an eviction dispute, Mass Legal Services has a useful tool to help find legal aid in your area. 

If you need help staying in the house or apartment you own: 

Mortgage Relief: The CARES Act offers some forms of mortgage relief for those experiencing financial hardship due to the coronavirus. You can learn more here

Delayed mortgage payments: If you have a federally-backed mortgage, Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac are offering delayed payments for those impacted by the coronavirus. 

Check out information on resources available to immigrants during the COVID-19 public health crisis in English, Portuguese, and Spanish.

The Massachusetts Immigrant & Refugee Advocacy Coalition offers multi-lingual resources and coronavirus-specific immigration updates. MIRA provides coronavirus-related immigration policy and enforcement updates, resources for workers in Massachusetts, and links to special relief programs and other helpful resources, including the MassUndocufund For Covid-19 Relief.

You can get no-cost, in-home internet for up to two months during the new coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak if you qualify for certain low-income internet programs or have a student living in your household. Here’s a list of the internet providers offering limited, no-cost internet services during the outbreak

More than 650 companies and associations have signed the Keep Americans Connected Pledge have pledged for the next 60 days to: (1) not terminate service to any residential or small business customers because of their inability to pay their bills due to the disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic; (2) waive any late fees that any residential or small business customers incur because of their economic circumstances related to the coronavirus pandemic; and (3) open their Wi-Fi hotspots to any American who needs them. 

Check out companies are offering additional consumer support during the pandemic, including increasing speeds, relaxing their data usage limits in appropriate circumstances, and promoting remote learning and telehealth. 

To learn more about other low cost broadband options visit everyone.org

Mass Legal Help provides information on ways to improve access to justice for low-income and disadvantaged people. They connect, support, and educate advocates and the general public, and provide information on courts, Department of Transitional Assistance, immigration, and other legal issues. Check out MLRI's most updated webpage  for answers to common questions related to legal rights and the COVID-19 pandemic. 

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255 

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a network of local crisis centers that are available 24/7 to provide support anyone in any kind of emotional crisis.   

There are several other numbers to call depending on your needs: 

  • Spanish Language: 1-866-628-9454 
  • Deaf and Hard of Hearing: 1-800-799-4889 
  • Veterans: 1-800-273-8255 
  • Disaster Distress: 1-800-985-5990 

Anyone can also use their online chat feature on the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline website

The National Alliance on Mental Illness has a great website with information, tips, and links that can help if you are navigating a mental health crisis or someone you love is doing so. 

The federal CARES Act provides broad relief for federal student loan borrowers.  

Federal student loan payments will automatically stop from March 13, 2020, through Sept. 30, 2020. To provide relief to student loan borrowers during the COVID-19 national emergency, federal student loan borrowers are automatically being placed in an administrative forbearance, which allows you to temporarily stop making your monthly loan payment. This suspension of payments will last until September 30, 2020, but you can still make payments if you choose.  

If you are a current BSU student and have questions about how the COVID-19 pandemic will affect your eligibility for financial aid (such as if you and/or your parent(s) have lost their jobs, you have concerns about how changes in your GPA may affect your aid, or other questions), check out BSU’s COVID-19 page first and if your questions are not answered there, contact the BSU Financial Aid Office at 508-531-1341.   

  • 800-656-HOPE  24-hr National Sexual Assault Hotline 
  • 888-293-7273   A New Day Sexual Assault Hotline 
  • 866-331-9474   National Dating Abuse Helpline 
  • 800-273-8255   National Suicide Prevention Lifeline  
  • 877-785-2020   SafeLink (Massachusetts Domestic Violence Hotline) 
  • 866-488-7386   Trevor Project for LGBTQ Youth 
  • 877-565-8860   Trans Lifeline 

This list of resources was compiled by the Martin Richard Institute for Social Justice at Bridgewater State University.  

If you would like to suggest a resource to be added or to report changes or errors, please email us at MRISJ@bridgew.edu

Follow the Institute on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram for the latest information.

Last Updated as of 4/29/20