DC Coronavirus Resource Page

This is a work in progress that’s being updated daily.  If anyone knows more DC local resources to help during the Coronavirus pandemic or has feedback on our current resources please email peoplesschooldc@gmail.com.

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Table of Contents
Click on links below to jump to any section
DC Coronavirus Announcements and Updates
How to Stay Safe
DIY Your Own Safety Resources
Food Access Resources
Food Safety During COVID
Businesses Still Open For Business
Urban Gardening Resources During Coronavirus
Know Your Rights During Coronavirus
Workers Rights and Resources
Resources for Businesses
Community Resources
Community Mutual Aid Resources During Social Distancing
Fighting Xenophobia During Coronavirus
Teleconferencing, Internet Access, and Free Educational Resources
Absentee Voting During Coronavirus
Free and Discounted Resources
How Can You Help?
Keeping Sane (Mental Health Resources and Things to Do During Quarantine)


DC Coronavirus Announcements and Updates

Coronavirus DC
DC Gov Coronavirus website for updates and tips on how to stay safe

Local Updates

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Follow for More Updates

National/International Updates

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coronavirus-4

Coronavirus: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)

 

Coronavirus 2: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)

 

Coronavirus III: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)

 

Calendar of Trump Downplaying the Coronavirus

 

How Fox News has shifted its Coronavirus Rhetoric

 

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How to Stay Safe

Wear a Mask!

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N95 Mask with an External Valves protect the wearer but doesn’t filter air or cough/sneeze droplets coming from the wearer

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“The valves, typically found on some N95 respirator masks to make breathing easier, are not allowed under the city’s most recent COVID-19 mask directive. At first glance, that seems counterintuitive. A 2008 study by scientists in the Netherlands found that well-fitted N95 masks provided adults with about 50 times as much protection as home-made masks and roughly 25 times as much as surgical masks. However, if an N95 mask has an external valve, it does an inadequate job of protecting others who come near the wearer. If that person should cough or sneeze through the valve, unfiltered droplets could travel through the opening and potentially contact anyone in range, according to the San Francisco Department of Health. Health care workers use two kinds of N95 masks — surgical respirators (for working in a sterile field) and N95 respirators without valves. These masks have been in short supply and should only be worn by doctors, nurses, first responders and other health care workers, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.” Why your N95 mask could endanger others: A feature that makes breathing easier increases infection risk

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Stop Spread of Germs_English_Social Media

Stop Spread of Germs_Multiple Languages_Social Media

Resources in Multiple Languages

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What to do if Sick?

 

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How to Prepare if You Get Sick

by Leah jo Carnine

 

Spanish Version

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DIY Your Own Safety Resources

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DIY Hand Sanitizer

a66166e5-10e9-4d64-be6a-8fb1b3046d18“The World Health Organization says hand-washing with soap and water is the best way to clean your hands, but when that’s not an option, the agency recommends using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer and wipes with at least 70% alcohol; however, 99% isopropyl alcohol is the highest recommendation.” WFMY2

Disinfectant Wipes

DIY DISINFECTANT WIPES using what you have!

How to make baby wipes! | DIY BABY WIPES

DIY Masks

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WP: Simple DIY masks could help flatten the curve. We should all wear them in public.

DIY *NO SEW* FACE MASKS! (free and easy!)

How to SEW a REUSABLE FACE MASK with FILTER POCKET// DIY Fabric Face mask // BATCH sew Medical mask

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Smart Air Filters: What Are The Best Materials for Making DIY Masks?

The Best Material for Making a Homemade DIY Mask

Researchers at Cambridge University tested a wide range of household materials for homemade masks. To measure effectiveness, they shot Bacillus atrophaeus bacteria (0.93-1.25 microns) and Bacteriophage MS virus (0.023 microns in size) at different household materials. They measured what percentage the materials could capture and compared them to the more common surgical mask.

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Not surprisingly, the surgical mask performed best, capturing 97% of the 1-micron bacteria. Yet every single material filtered out at least 50% of particles. The top performers were the vacuum cleaner bag (95%), the dish cloth (“tea towel” in the UK! 83%), the cotton blend shirt fabric (74%), and the 100% cotton shirt (69%).

Homemade Masks vs. Viruses

The test above used bacteria that were 1 micron large, yet the coronavirus is just 0.1 microns – ten times smaller. Can homemade masks capture smaller virus particles? To answer this question, the scientists tested 0.02 micron Bacteriophage MS2 particles (5 times smaller than the coronavirus).

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On average, the homemade masks captured 7% fewer virus particles than the larger bacteria particles. However, all of the homemade materials managed to capture 50% of virus particles or more (with the exception of the scarf at 49%).

Are Two-Layered DIY Masks More Effective?

If the problem is filtration effectiveness, would the masks work better if we doubled up with two layers of fabric? The scientists tested virus-size particles against double-layered versions of the dish towel, pillow case, and 100% cotton shirt fabrics.

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Overall, the double layers didn’t help much. The double-layer pillowcase captured 1% more particles, and the double-layer shirt captured just 2% more particles. Yet the extra dish cloth layer boosted performance by 14%. That boost made the tea towel as effective as the surgical mask.

Looking at the data, the dish towel and vacuum cleaner bag were the top-performing materials. However, the researchers didn’t choose these as the best materials for DIY masks:

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Instead, they concluded the pillowcase and the 100% cotton t-shirt are the best materials for DIY masks. Why?

The Importance of DIY Mask Breathability

The answer lies in breathability. How easy it is to breathe through your mask is an important factor that will affect how comfortable it is. And comfort isn’t merely a luxury. Comfort will influence how long you can wear your mask.

Fortunately, in addition to particle effectiveness, the researchers tested the pressure drop across each type of fabric. This gives us a good indication of how easy it is to breathe through each material. As a benchmark, they compared breathability of each DIY mask material to the surgical mask.

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Although the tea towel and the vacuum bag captured the most particles, they were also the hardest to breath through. With two layers, the tea towel was over twice as hard to breathe through as the surgical mask. In contrast, the pillow case, t-shirt, scarf, and linen were all easier to breathe through than the surgical mask.

Researchers’ Pick for Best-Performing Homemade Mask Material

Based on particle capture and breathability, the researchers concluded that cotton t-shirts and pillow cases are the best choices for DIY masks.

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Are there any other materials we can use? The Cambridge researchers left out one common material: paper towel. We tested how well paper towel masks capture sub-micron particles.

Making DIY Masks with Household Materials

Bottom line: Test data shows that the best choices for DIY masks are cotton t-shirts, pillowcases, or other cotton materials. These materials filter out approximately 50% of 0.2 micron particles, similar in size to the coronavirus. They are also as easy to breathe through as surgical masks, which makes them more comfortable enough to wear for several hours. Doubling the layers of material for your DIY mask gives a very small increase in filtration effectiveness, but makes the mask much more difficult to breathe through.

Additional Instructions

DIY Toliet Paper

Cloth

We gave up toilet paper! (& switched to family cloth)

Alternatives

15 Ways To Wipe When The Toilet Paper Is Gone\

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DIY in general

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Food Access Resources

If you can’t find what you need here check out these more frequently updated food access during COVID sites

District’s Food Access Resources

htDC Green’s Comprehensive Food Access Resources

DC Food Project Emergency Food Access

Free Meals in Greater DC During COVID-19 Map

Below is a map of over 100 free meal options in greater DC during the pandemic at schools, nonprofits, restaurants, etc. serving free meals to kids, adults, seniors, and even hospital workers.  More info about these and other efforts below the map as well.
For shelters and food pantries please search www.auntbertha.com or call Hunger Lifeline 202-644-9807 (Monday-Friday 9 am – 5 pm)

  • Meals for Youth at DCPS Schools
  • Meals for Youth at DC Charter Schools
  • Meals for Seniors at DACL Senior Wellness Centers
  • Meals from Nonprofits and Food Banks
  • DC Central Kitchen Feeding Sites
  • Free Meals at Restaurants
  • José Andrés Community Kitchens
  • Meals for Youth in VA Schools
  • Youth Meals in MOCO Schools
  • Youth Meals in PG County Schools

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Free Meals Home Delivery Options

  • Department of Aging and Community Living: Home Delivered Meals
    Some elderly and disabled people who continue living at home are unable to shop, prepare food themselves, or travel to a site where meals are served. To help these residents, the DC Office on Aging delivers prepared meals to adults 60 years of age or older at their homes throughout the city. The spouses of homebound adults or disabled persons that reside with these homebound adults may also be eligible to receive these meals.
  • Jewish Social Service Agency – Meals on Wheels Programs for seniors only – call (301) 816-2639
  • Food For All DC – Serving those who are homebound, including elderly citizens, handicapped, or single mothers with young children. Deliveries every Saturday, 9:00am – 2:00pm. (240) 505-4607.
  • Food and Friends DC – Free meal and grocery delivery available to people living with life-challenging illnesses. Clients must be referred by a healthcare provider.
  • Medium Rare – Delivering FREE meals to the senior community in DC
  • Mutual Aid Networks – Local community organizing to get services and resources to those in need
  • We are Family: Senior Outreach Network – Volunteer to help provide services for seniors in need

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Early Store Openings_1

DC Central Kitchen’s Healthy Corners stores will be offering vegetables at up to 50% off, in addition to the existing 5-for-5 SNAP matching.

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Maryland Department of Human Services Secures USDA Approval to Expedite Expansion of SNAP Program to Online Grocery Purchases, Curbside Pickup, and Delivery, Starting May 27, 2020

Common Good City Farm Free Produce Pickup
Every Wednesday
Starting May 27th
Free Produce Box Pickup
Open to all
4-6 pm
Just outside the farm’s entrance on the Park at LeDroit side
300 V St NW, Washington, DC 20001

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Humane Rescue Alliance Pet Pantry

In the wake of COVID-19, the Humane Rescue Alliance’s Pet Pantry is still operating as a vital resource for DC residents. All distribution events are held outdoors, including in inclement weather. Social distancing guidelines will be enforced. If you are showing signs of illness, please stay home. (residents will be able to pick up 1/2 month’s worth of pet food). HRA will not require residents to fill out the enrollment form if it’s their first time (they will follow up with enrollment when more feasible). View up-to-date list of area clinics, pet supply stores, and boarding facilities.

Due to the Coronavirus DCPS Schools have closed

DCPS will maintain meal sites for any students in need.  Please help share the list below.  More details at https://dcps.dc.gov/coronavirus

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DC Public Charter School Meal Sites

  • Ward 4

    • Paul PCS, 5800 8th Street NW — 12:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. M-F

    • Capital City PCS, 100 Peabody Street, NW — 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. M-F5

  • Ward 5

    • Friendship Armstrong PCS, 1400 First Street, NW — 8:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. M-F

    • Friendship Woodridge International PCS, 2959 Carlton Avenue, NE — 8:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. M-F

    • Mary McLeod Bethune Day Academy PCS, 1404 Jackson Street NE — 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. M-F

    • KIPP College Prep, 1405 Brentwood Parkway, NE – See kippdc.org/meals

  • Ward 6

    • Howard University Middle School of Math and Science PCS, Outside of Shaw Metro Station — 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. M-F

    • Friendship Chamberlain PCS, 1345 Potomac Avenue, SE — 8:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. M-F

    • Kingsman Academy PCS, 1375 E Street, SE — Beginning March 23, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. M-F

  • Ward 7

    • Friendship Blow-Pierce PCS, 725 19th Street, NE — 8:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. M-F

    • Friendship Collegiate PCS, 4095 Minnesota Avenue, NE — 8:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. M-F

    • KIPP Smilow Facility (Arts & Tech, Quest, Valor), 5300 Blaine Street, NE — See kippdc.org/meals

    • Rocketship Legacy Prep PCS, 4250 Massachusetts Avenue, SE — 11 a.m.- 1 p.m.

    • IDEA PCS, 1027 45th Street NE — 8 a.m.-9 a.m. for Breakfast and 10 a.m.-2 p.m. for lunch

  • Ward 8

    • Friendship Southeast PCS, 645 Milwaukee Place, SE — 8:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. M-F

    • Friendship Technology Prep PCS, 2705 Martin Luther King Avenue, SE — 8:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. M-F

    • Ingenuity Prep PCS, 4600 Livingston Road, SE — 8 a.m.-10 a.m., 11 a.m.-1 p.m. M-F

    • KIPP Somerset PCS, 3301 Wheeler Road, SE — See kippdc.org/meals

    • KIPP Douglass Facility (Discover, Heights, AIM), 2600 Douglass Road, SE — See kippdc.org/meals

    • National Collegiate Prep, 4600 Livingston Road SE — 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. March 16 & March 24 – 31

    • Rocketship Rise PCS, 2335 Raynolds Place, SE — 11am – 1pm

    • Early Childhood Academy PCS, 885 Barnaby Street, SE — Noon to 1pm M-F

    • Thurgood Marshall Academy PCS, 2427 Martin Luther King Jr Ave, SE — 10am – 1pm Bkfast & Lunch

    • Howard University Middle School of Math and Science PCS, Outside of Anacostia Metro Station — Noon to 1pm M-F

    • Eagle Academy PCS, 3400 Wheeler Road, SE — 11am – 1pm M-F

DC Central Kitchen Feeding Sites Serving Grab and Go Breakfast and Lunch

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Transportation assistance

Additional Meal Resources

(Original List Compiled by DC Food Project)

Check Out DC Greens for DC Free Meal Sites broken into categories

$50 SNAP Matching by Expensify.org
Expensify.org is going to temporarily redirect all of its charitable funds to a new program: matching SNAP grocery purchases up to $50 per family. Go to their website here to learn how.

Comprehensive list

  • & Pizza– Starting March 16th providing FREE pizza to hospital workers (valid id required). Text them at 200-03 #Hero to obtain unique code.

  • Arcadia Foods – Mobile market, pre-orders and FREE meals at each pick up site for youths affected by school closing.
  • Aunt Bertha – Aunt Bertha’s network connects people seeking help by zip code. (Shelters, Food Services and more)

  • Bread for the City – Operating reduced hours at NW Center, but offering groceries to medical patients with urgent care needs. SE Center is closed through March 31st.
  • Capital Area Food Bank– Updated information continues to be added to their site notifying families where food will be distributed.

  • DC Central Kitchen – Serving takeaway food at Walker-Jones Education Campus (Ward 6) and Kelly Miller Middle School (Ward 7) Mon-Fri 10am-2pm. Will launch mobile feeding locations to serve to go breakfast and lunch. They are also in need of donations to help support their efforts.
    • DC Central Kitchen’s Healthy Corners stores will be offering vegetables at up to 50% off, in addition to the existing 5-for-5 SNAP matching.
  • DC Dream Center– Serving free hot meals in Southeast DC every day from noon until they run out, no ID required.
  • DC Department of Aging and Community Living – All DACL-funded Senior Wellness Centers & community dining sites will be temporarily closed from March 16-March 31. Meals will be available for pick-up at each site between 10 am-2 pm for current participants. Adult Day Health Centers will be open. Call 202-724-5626 for info.

  • FRESHFARM – Markets are remaining open in select locations

  • Good Stuff Eatery (Capitol Hill, Crystal City and Georgetown)- Kids eat FREE while schools are closed
  • Hook Hall Helps – Free nutritional meals and needed groceries/supplies for hospitality industry workers, food care kits for anyone, meals for Kids in the Community and family programming.  Check out the website for more details.
  • Little Miner Taco (Rhode Island Ave)- Kids eat FREE from the kids menu during school closures in DCPS and MD (one meal per student per day)
  • Little Sesame – In partnership with Dream Out Loud, they will provide meals to vulnerable communities. Buy a gift card give a meal. Distribution begins March 16th at Kelly Miller Middle School 301 49th St NE, Weekdays 4-6pm
  • Little Wild Things – offering free no-contact home delivery in Washington, D.C. this Wednesday 3/18.  Also still offering a curbside pick-up option at our farm in NE DC.  Residents can place orders at www.lwtfarm.myshopify.com.  They discounted their greens with the longest shelf-life and have a special collection of our most affordable, long-lasting options
  • Martha’s Table
    • In partnership with DC Health and Capital Area Food Bank, they will support DCPS and DCPCS to ensure bags of groceries (fruits, veggies, pantry items) are available at designated food access sites. Details to come.

    • They will continue to offer pre-bagged groceries for neighbors at their SE and NW DC locations: The Commons (2375 Elvans Rd. SE) and The Maycroft (1401 Columbia Rd. NW)

    • They will continue to serve pre-packaged meals through McKenna’s Wagon – a mobile food service that delivers hot meals to two downtown locations to support community members experiencing hunger and/or homelessness

    • They are targeting families with children, the elderly, and people who have preexisting conditions who may not be able to get to the grocery store as easily as others.  The fresh fruits and veggies are at no cost.  If you know of anyone in or around these neighborhoods please extend the information to them, via this website, https://marthastable.org/covid19/ then clicking on “Ongoing Updates about Joyful Food Markets.”  If you know of people that could use the help, please let them know.

  • Medium Rare – Delivering FREE meals to the senior community in DC

  • Milk & Honey Cafe – 1245 H St NE. Offering FREE breakfast for Kids. Monday-Friday 8:30-10am.

  • Miriam’s Kitchen – meals still being served, operations moved to outside space
  • N Street Village– Providing bagged breakfast 7-8:30am daily, bagged lunch from 12-12:30pm daily. For other services visit their website.

  • Po Boy Jim – Serving FREE meals to kids while school is closed. H Street Mon-Fri 11am-7pm, 9th Street Tue-Wed 3pm-7pm, Thurs-Fri 11am-7pm, Both locations only available during business hours.

  • Purple Patch DC– Offering FREE grab and go kids bagged breakfast and lunch daily from 10am-2am.
  • Rasa – Will be providing FREE take-out meals to children under 18, FREE take-out meals to hospital workers (valid ID) and FREE take-out meals for their team members and their families. More on their instagram page

  • Santa Rosa Taqueria (Capitol Hill) Kids eat FREE while schools are closed

  • St. George’s Episcopal Church – Providing a hot breakfast to anyone in need every other Saturday. The next “Breakfast Bags to Go” will be Saturday April, 4 at 9am.
  • So Others Might Eat – People can pick up hot to-go breakfasts and bagged lunches from 8am to 10am. Per instructions from DHS, meals must be to-go and our Dining Room will not be available for seating.
  • Succotash – Hospitality workers who are now without work or a steady income can visit Succotash Penn Quarter between 5pm-8pm daily for a free to-go dinner, fresh produce, and supplies. Dinners are offered on a first-come, first serve basis and roughly 250 meals will be available nightly (limit 2 per person, unless there is an emergency situation).
  • Sweetgreen – Setting up outposts in hospitals to deliver FREE salad and bowls around the city. If you would like to sign your hospital up for a free sg outpost go to bit.ly/sgimpactoutpost
  • We The Pizza (Capitol Hill, Crystal City & Ballston)- Kids eat FREE while schools are closed

 

 

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José Andrés Is Closing His DC-Area Restaurants, Setting Up Community Kitchens
These community kitchens will offer lunches for those in need of a meal. The community kitchens will operate out of the restaurants’ side doors with a limited number of volunteers from 12 – 5 pm daily beginning Tuesday, March 17, offering only takeout service.

Restaurant Closures and Community Kitchens:

  • America Eats Tavern, Georgetown: A community kitchen will operate from the back upstairs patio.
  • China Chilcano, Penn Quarter:  Due to the lack of outdoor space at the restaurant, a community kitchen will not be available.
  • Jaleo, Bethesda: A community kitchen will operate from the side door.
  • Jaleo, Crystal City: A community kitchen will operate from the side door.
  • Jaleo, Penn Quarter: A community kitchen will operate from the side door.
  • minibar and barmini, Penn Quarter: The restaurant and bar both closed following the end of service on March 14. A community kitchen will not be available. Guests with existing reservations will be contacted to rebook, and deposits will be refunded.
  • Oyamel, Penn Quarter: A community kitchen will operate from the side door.
  • Zaytinya, Penn Quarter: A community kitchen will operate from the side door.
  • Beefsteak, Dupont, Foggy Bottom & Montgomery Mall: Our D.C.-area fast-casual locations will offer delivery only, available via our website.
  • Pepe Food Truck, D.C.: Will remain in operation, check here for current location.

“We feel these community kitchens can help during this challenging time, and those who cannot afford to pay we will welcome as well,” Andrés said.

To help farmers and shoppers weather this crisis, MDFMA (www.marylandfma.org) + Future Harvest (www.futureharvestcasa.org) – along with collaboration from other local groups like MWCOG (www.mwcog.org) and Delmarva Grown (https://www.delmarvagrown.com/) – are creating a directory of local food resources for direct sales. If you would like to be included on this list, please answer the following questions and the information provided will be shared with the public.

Meal Sites Beyond DC

No Kid Hungry Virginia creates texting line for families impacted by school closure
Parents can text FOOD or COMIDA to 877-877 to find free food distribution sites

Food Access Organizations that Need Help

Volunteer Opportunities

  • Aunt Bertha – Aunt Bertha’s network connects people seeking help and verified social care providers that serve them by zip code. Contact your local shelter to see what help and/or items may be needed
  • Capital Area Food Bank– In critical need of volunteers to help sort and pack food in their warehouse and assist at their offsite food distributions
  • DC Public Schools– In need of volunteers to help keep running their many meal sites for kids in DC during school closures! Please fill out the linked survey.
  • Food and Friends DC– In urgent need of extra volunteers throughout the coming weeks. There are two volunteer opportunities, food preparation and packaging and meal and grocery delivery
  • Food Rescue US– Volunteers with vehicles needed to pick up and deliver food from businesses to DC residents in need
  • Grace’s Table– Looking for volunteers to help feed the homeless each Saturday
  • Martha’s Table – Volunteers needed to help prepare and bag food.
  • We Are Family– Volunteer to deliver groceries to seniors.
  • COVID-19 Response / Serve your neighbor! volunteer to run errands for our elderly or immunocompromised neighbors
  • Ward 1 Errand Volunteers – Ward 1 has a sign-up sheet for volunteers who want to run errands for those who are housebound

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Financial Donation Opportunities

  • Black Lives Matter DC– Supply drive for families. In need of donations (toiletries, personal and baby products, bags and financial)
  • Bread for the City – Accepting monetary donations for groceries, diapers, and medical supplies to give clients during open hours. Please consider making a donation to support their efforts here.
  • Calvary Women’s Services – Financial contributions allow them to maintain a safe and caring home for all the women in their housing programs
  • Capital Area Food Bank– Financial contributions appreciated to continue their mission of providing food to food insecure neighbors
  • DC Central Kitchen– Financial contributions ensure that they can continue to serve the community
  • DC Dream Center- In need of financial donations to continue providing free meals and supplies to those in need in Southeast DC
  • Food it Forward – Help keep DC restaurant jobs, and help feed DC families in need by buying a meal package. Martha’s Table has teamed up with Clyde’s Restaurant Group, amongst others, to deliver meals to those in need — while helping keep restaurant workers employed
  • Greater DC Diaper Bank – Preparing to serve families for the next two months. Please consider making a donation.
  • Little Sesame– Every $10 in gift cards you buy provides a meal for someone in vulnerable communities
  • Martha’s Table– In need of financial donations appreciated to continue their education, health and wellness, and family engagement programs
  • Miriam’s Kitchen–  In need of financial donations to help neighbors experiencing homelessness receive access to a sink or have a home to stay when they are sick
  • Momma’s Safe Haven – In need of donations to continue providing programming for youth and providing rides to/from DCPS meal sites
  • N Street Village– in need of financial donations to continue providing key services and meals for thousands of women experiencing poverty and homelessness in DC.
  • ROC-DC– In need of financial donations to provide emergency relief to impacted restaurant workers in the DMV
  • Sasha Bruce Youthwork– In need of financial support to help them keep their doors open to homeless youth
  • So Others Might Eat (SOME) – SOME is in need of financial donations for supplies and meals for their clients
  • World Central Kitchen– Donate to World Central Kitchen or buy gift cards to one of the Think Food Group restaurants to support their community kitchens

Supplies Needed

Donate or Help Rescue Food with Food Rescue US

These are very challenging times for many, but one silver lining of all this is the many organizations and individuals who are working tirelessly to help those in need in their communities. Food assistance organizations are already facing higher demand for food. However, as restaurants close or alter their menus, events and catering orders are canceled, and offices are moving to 100% telework, there is a large amount of excess food that could be donated and needs to be placed with a food assistance organization very quickly. Food Rescue US- DC’s network of volunteers is ready to rescue that food and get it to the organizations who need it.

What can you do? Please, spread the word to restaurants, cafes, caterers, event spaces, offices, and any other businesses who may find themselves with excess food to donate that Food Rescue US – DC can rescue that food and make sure it gets to the right place.

If you have food to donate or would like to volunteer to rescue food, you can:

For information about why to donate food and the benefits and protections for donors, please refer to Donating Excess Food During the COVID-19 National Emergency, and for information specific to the DC area, please refer to Food Recovery in the District of Columbia: A Legal Guide.

Types of food that CAN be donated (please see the FRUS Guide for more detail):

  • Fresh produce (fruits and vegetables)
  • Dairy products (eggs, milk, cheese, yogurt, etc.)
  • Fresh or frozen meats
  • Baked goods
  • Pre-packaged foods (entrees, salads, cut produce)
  • Dry goods, non-perishables
  • Prepared foods that have not been served to the customer

These are unprecedented times, and we could use your help to make sure that people who need food have access to it, while we minimize the wasting of food.

Thank you!

DC Food Recovery Working Group & Food Rescue US – DC

COVID-19 – Related Wasted Food Resources (National)

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No Kid Hungry: Coronavirus Grant Request

Additional Food Resource Guides

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Food Safety During COVID

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Businesses Still Open For Business

Dining at a Distance

Use this aggregator to find what restaurants in the Washington, DC area are open for take-out, curbside pick-up, or delivery during the lockdown of Washington, DC’s restaurants and bars during COVID-19. This list is constantly evolving, so if you see a place missing please use the form below to add them to the list!

DCist: Here’s Which D.C.-Area Restaurants Are Offering Takeout, Delivery, And Alcohol During The Coronavirus Pandemic

DC Eater: Where to Find Sweet Treats for Pickup and Delivery Around D.C.: “Stay-at-home” options for cookies, doughnuts, ice cream, and pie

Fresh Farms Greater DC Shopping Alternatives

During the COVID-19 crisis, our farmers markets remain OPEN, but we are implementing practices to ensure the safety and hygiene of all shoppers and vendors. Below find additional ways you can support our small, local businesses while reducing the risk to yourself and others during these uncertain times.  In an effort to reduce customers’ time spent at market, better meet demands, expedite transactions, and limit currency exchange, vendors are offering pre-order + pick-up options at market or even on the farm.  Can’t make it to the market? Many vendors will deliver their goods straight to your door.

Local Harvest: Find a Local CSA

Thinking about signing up for a CSA but want to learn more about the idea before you commit? Read on. For over 25 years, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) has become a popular way for consumers to buy local, seasonal food directly from a farmer. Here are the basics: a farmer offers a certain number of “shares” to the public. Typically the share consists of a box of vegetables, but other farm products may be included. Interested consumers purchase a share (aka a “membership” or a “subscription”) and in return receive a box (bag, basket) of seasonal produce each week throughout the farming season.

Humane DC: Looking for Non Factory Farm Meat and Dairy Options in Greater DC?

Check out Humanedc.org, a resource list of local (Mid Atlantic) pasture-raised meat and dairy farms, with higher animal welfare than most factory farms, and serve Greater DC area with CSAs, Buyers Clubs or home delivery.  There’s also a lot of great vegan resources for DC too!

Shop in Place DC

Hard-working, creative entrepreneurs are struggling to stay open while providing Washingtonians with everything they need to stay at home and keep each other safe. Use this site to find old favorites and discover new gems that are still delivering the essentials. Local businesses can fill out profiles to be added to the list if they are still operating. Let’s help DC’s local businesses weather this crisis!

A LIST OF 112 DC BUSINESSES CURRENTLY OPEN FOR SHIPPING

Here are local DC businesses (other than restaurants) that you can shop safely during the quarantine. Feel free to copy and paste this list anywhere you want as long as you link back to this spreadsheet. This list is maintained by Andrew Breza. Let me know if I missed anything at andrew.breza@gmail.com or twitter.com/breza

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Helping Small Businesses and Those Who are Self-employed

Resource Guide: What you can do to help your community and small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic

Supporting local food systems & industry employees

For groceries and meals, consider getting your food from local markets – including farmers markets, corner stores, and independent shops –  as well as local farms. This can allow you to support local businesses and agriculture while also potentially saving you a trip to a grocery store.

Supporting Small Businesses

  • If you are able, buy gift cards to all the places you would have frequented such as restaurants, bars, small shops, yoga/fitness studios, nail/hair salons, kids activities/gyms, theaters, music venues, museums, etc. Look at your change in routine (i.e., the coffee shop next to your office or school) and plans you’re canceling and if it was a reservation, appointment, meal, play, concert, etc., think about whether you can support that business with the purchase of a gift card, merchandise, or membership/subscription for the future instead.
  • Restaurants and bars- you can still order food for delivery or take out, and many who didn’t previously offer delivery through a service like DoorDash, GrubHub, Caviar or UberEats are now starting to.
  • Some (high end) restaurants offer a “house account” through a company called inKind
  • Shop from smaller businesses for food, alcohol, personal care products, etc. rather than big chains. Think local markets, corner stores, independent shops, grocery delivery like Hungry Harvest or Imperfect Foods, etc.
  • Send your cleaning person/personal trainer/dog walker/etc. a check if you won’t be using their services for the foreseeable future.
  • If a concert, play, etc. has been canceled, consider not asking for a refund and just look at the price you paid for it as a donation to the artist and venue.
  • Some services are going virtual/delivery–  gyms and personal trainers for example are doing FaceTime/virtual live work outs, so you can continue to support these businesses and individuals while also staying healthy. Other shops are starting delivery options so you can buy items without leaving your house.
  • Consider who you know that might be out of work now or soon (people in the service/tourism industries, artists, musicians, hourly/self-employed etc.)– could you hire them for anything? Babysitting, landscaping, repairs, other odd jobs?

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Urban Gardening Resources During Coronavirus

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DC Mayor Orders Updates

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DPR Urban Grower Webinar Course

Now more than ever people are understanding the importance of growing our own food. That’s why during this time of social distancing the DC Parks and Rec (DPR) Urban Grower Course has been converted into an all online webinar course called the DPR Urban Grower Webinar Course. The DPR Urban Grower Webinar Course is a FREE online course focused on teaching people all the basics of gardening from building a home garden to cooking and preserving your harvest. The course is (12) 2-hour classes and virtually meets twice a week for 6 weeks every Tuesday and Thursday from 11am-1pm from March 24 to April 30th.  All webinars will be recorded and shared.  To receive webinar updates please register below.

Registration

Time
12 2-hour classes
Every Tuesday and Thursdays (March 24 to April 30th)
11-1pm

Location
Zoom Video Conference Meeting Room

Schedule
March 24 – Building a Garden
March 26 – Vegetable Planting and Maintenance
March 31 – Garden Calendar
April 2 – Starting Seeds and Propagating at Home
April 7 – Container Gardening
April 9 – Garden Pest, Diseases, and Weeds
April 14 – Critter Proofing, Season Extension, and Garden Carpentry
April 16 – Urban Composting
April 21 – Urban Fruit trees
April 23 – Food Justice 101: National/International Issues
April 28 – Food Justice 201: Local Issues
April 30 – Harvesting, Cooking, and Preserving

(Schedule subject to change. Please register to receive any updates)

If you have any questions about the course please contact Joshua.singer@dc.gov

Click Herer for the Webinar Recordings

DPR Basics of Urban Growing Webinar Series

Now more than ever people are understanding the importance of growing our own food. That’s why during this time of social distancing DC Parks and Rec (DPR) has created the FREE DPR Basics of Urban Growing Webinar Series for first time gardeners. This course is (2) 2-hour long webinars covering the basics of gardening only. These presentations were created by grabbing only the slides from the DPR Urban Grower Webinar Course needed to grow a basic garden. (FYI If you have taken the DPR Urban Grower Webinar Course there may not be much new information) We removed all the higher skill level information so beginner gardeners can just focus on the basics and not feel overwhelmed. Once you’re ready for more advanced garden skills you can catch the recordings of all 12 classes of the DPR Urban Grower Webinar Course at your own time at the DUG Network.

Meeting Times
Tuesday May 5th and Thursday May 7th
11-1pm

Location
Video Conference call sent out day before each class

Recordings
Each class will be recorded and shared, although its encouraged to attend each webinar if you can so you can ask questions and participate in video conference discussions. Participants must register to receive the recordings and presentations.

Schedule
Tuesday May 5th – Garden Requirements, Soil Preparation, Garden Bed Creation, Garden Design
Thursday May 7th – Garden Design, Gardening Tips

(Schedule subject to change. Registered to receive any updates)

For any questions please contact joshua.singer@dc.gov

 

DPR Advanced Growing Webinar Series

Now more than ever people are understanding the importance of growing our own food.   That’s why DC Parks and Rec (DPR) created the FREE Advance Grower Webinar Series.  This series includes over 20 free webinars taught by over a dozen local experts on a variety of advance gardening techniques and skills.

Where
Webex Video Conference Room – Will send log in information to first 100 registered participants for each class.  Most webinars will be recorded and sent to everyone on the waiting list. Please register for each individual webinar you are interested in attending or receiving the recordings.

Time
Every Tuesday and Thursday 6-7 or 6-8pm from May 12 to July 28

Must Registered for Each Class at this Link

bit.ly/DPRUrbanGardening

(On the registration page look for the “+” on the left column to register for each class interested.)

Schedule

5/12 – Urban Foraging in DCJosh Singer, DPR Community Garden Specialist
5/14 – Optimizing Time and Space in the Urban Garden Neil Hoffman, Urban Gardener
5/19 – Chickens in the City; Bringing DC’s Healthy Living Initiatives to our Schools, Homes, & Community GardensKate Mcylnn, Urban Gardener
5/21 – Growing Herbs and Greens Indoors with Kratky Hydroponics Neil Hoffman, Urban Gardener
5/26 – Growing and Brewing with Hops– Dana McCoskey, Hobby Organic Gardener/Brewer
5/28 –Intro to Drip IrrigationKate Lee, DOEE Office of Urban Agriculture Director
6/2 –   Connecting with Plants in a Climate of Disconnection Holly Poole-Kavana, Little Red Bird Botanicals
6/4 –   Overview of Food Recovery in DCJosh Singer, DC Food Recovery Working  Group
6/9 –   Foraging Mushrooms Drew Drozynski, Tara Geiger, Hobby Foragers
6/11 – Intro to Canning and Food PreservationRegina Anderson, Executive Director of Food Recovery Network.
6/16 – Urban Stealth Composting; Bokashi, Compost Hiding-Pots, Garden Towers, Worm Towers, Kambha Stacks and MoreKate Mcylnn, Urban Gardener
6/18 – Growing Mushrooms in the CityDrew Drozynski, Hobby Mushroom Grower
6/23 – Beekeeping Basics Izzy Hill, USDA Honey Bee and Pollinator Research Coordinator
6/25 – DIY Organic Home ProductsRegina Anderson, Executive Director of Food Recovery Network.
6/30 – Forgotten Foods; Cooking from Garden and Field with all the Taste but None of the Waste! Kate Mcylnn, Urban Gardener
7/2 –   Finding Land and Organizing Gardens in DCJosh Singer, DPR Community Garden Specialist
7/7 –   Website Optimization Howard Lee, Marketing Manager
7/9 –   Design and Build a Trommel Compost Sifter – Neil Hoffman, Urban Gardener
7/14 – Intro to Cover Crops Andy Clark, USDA sustainable agriculture program
7/16 – Intro to Seed SavingXavier Brown, DPR Small Parks Specialist
7/21 – Intro to Soil Microbiology Erika Larsen, Soil Scientist
7/23 – Gardening & Cooking the Harvest with Kids City Blossoms Crew
7/28 – Roots of Food Apartheid Josh Singer, Peoples School of DC
7/30 – A Greenhouse and STEM Activity for Educators (we are all educators) – Tara McNerney a nd Willa Pohlman from City Blossoms and Lee Coykendall from U.S. Botanic Gardens

(Schedule subject to change.  Please register to receive any updates)

For any additional questions or if you’re are interested in teaching future webinars with DPR please contact Joshua.singer@dc.gov

Volunteer While Social Distancing on the Farm at Kelly Miller

DC Farmers are still growing because we still need to feed people. Dreaming Out Loud, Inc. is looking for a *small* group of people with gardening/farming experience might want to come to the farm on a limited basis to help with big jobs. You’ll take some instruction from Farm Manager, Violet and, of course, all workers will maintain proper spacing, wash hands frequently and wear gloves. Please email violet@dreamingoutloud.org if you want to help.


DUG Network

(DC Urban Garden) Network
An all volunteer cooperative resource network that lists and categorizes over 500 resources and organizations in greater DC area that focus on urban Ag, food security, and environment.  It’s a great site to learn how to garden, find the nearest place to garden, where to find garden supplies, where the nearest urban farm is to volunteer with, and so much more.  And the DUG Network also does a very comprehensive bimonthly newsletter promoting workshops, programs, jobs, grants, etc. in urban Ag, food security, and the environment.  Past newsletter and the registration to receive future letters at this link.   And if anyone is looking for something to do during social distancing we always need help keeping this site and it’s 100s of resources updated. Email me at Joshua.singer@dc.gov if interested.

DUG Network Garden Supplies During COVID Resource Page in Greater DC

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Know Your Rights During Coronavirus

What to Do If Your Landlord Pressures Sex for Rent During COVID-19

WP: It’s April 1 — here’s what you need to know about paying your rent or mortgage

As renters and homeowners grapple with mass layoffs and business closures, housing advocates are growing increasingly concerned the country will soon face a housing crisis to rival the one that nearly took down the economy a decade ago. Federal officials have imposed a nationwide halt to foreclosures and evictions for more than 30 million Americans with home mortgages backed by the Federal Housing Administration or two government-controlled companies, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. But the federal moratoriums do not cover more than 40 million renters or 5 million homeowners with mortgage loans not backed by the government. And while the halt to foreclosures and evictions will keep many people in their homes temporarily, a bigger financial shock is brewing as others fall behind on their payments, industry analysts say. Mortgage servicers, which collect homeowners’ monthly loan payments, say they have already begun to see an uptick in borrowers seeking help and could quickly become swamped. “Servicers are laboring under the same constraints as everyone else, telecommuting and practicing social distancing,” said Bob Broeksmit, president of the Mortgage Bankers Association. “This is hitting at a time when their capacity is already constrained because of the pandemic.”

HUD orders 60-day foreclosure moratorium for homeowners affected by coronavirus

Renters face an even more precarious position. Some states and cities are offering temporary protection from evictions, but it is not universal. Both Maryland and Virginia, as well as the District of Columbia, have banned evictions at least through the end of April, but renters will still have to pay their bills when the bans are lifted, and they may have to pay additional fees. The Renters Alliance in Montgomery County, Md., is already being flooded with queries from nervous renters who are concerned they will not be able to pay their rent soon, said Matt Losak, executive director of the nonprofit advocacy group. About half of renters in the country are “rent burdened,” spending more than 30 percent of their income on rent, he said. “If you’re in that category and one of many workers who has a reduction of hours because of the crisis, you’re going to be pushed over the edge in your ability to pay rent,” he said. Here is what you need to know about who is eligible for rent or mortgage relief.

I’m a renter. Can I be evicted?

The $2 trillion economic rescue legislation passed by Congress last week prohibits rental evictions for 120 days on properties secured with a government-backed mortgage. That covers about half the market for multifamily properties, according to the National Multifamily Housing Council. Many states and cities have also halted evictions.

Millions shelter in place as job losses pile up and renters fear evictions

The Los Angeles City Council has approved an emergency plan to temporarily halt evictions and create a citywide rental assistance fund. In Oregon, Home Forward, which provides affordable housing, is offering renters affected by the coronavirus outbreak a rental break until at least May 31. The renters will be able to repay their skipped payments over 12 months, according to Home Forward. In Mountain View, Calif., the City Council has approved a $500,000 renter assistance program for people affected by the coronavirus.

Has my city or state passed a ban on evictions of renters?

You can contact your city government to ask about local moratoriums or check your state government website for information about statewide laws. The National Consumer Law Center is also keeping an updated list of places that have passed bans on evictions. The center also has advice for all renters and homeowners who are having trouble paying mortgage and rent. Here’s a blog that is also compiling information about such moratoriums and other advice for renters who are not covered by them.

Is there a federal program to help renters?

There has been a call for national rental assistance program, but it has yet to emerge. Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), chair of the Financial Services Committee, has proposed spending $100 billion to cover peoples’ rent and utilities. Democratic state Sen. Mike Gianaris of Queens has introduced legislation that would forgive three months of rent and mortgage payments for people and small businesses affected by the coronavirus. Renters who lost their job or are sick because of the virus should immediately contact their landlord and alert them — in writing — of their hardships, said David Dworkin, president of the National Housing Conference. Most landlords will be sympathetic and willing to offer help, Dworkin said. “That communication is incredibly important,” he said.

What if I am a homeowner facing foreclosure or eviction?

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Federal Housing Finance Agency, the regulator for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, have directed mortgage servicers to halt all new foreclosure actions and suspend those already in progress. The HUD order applies to single-family homeowners unable to pay their Federal Housing Administration-backed mortgages. There are 8.1 million active FHA loans. The moratorium also applies to loans backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which covers about half of the country’s mortgages, or about 28 million borrowers. (The government seized control of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in 2008 as the housing market unraveled, and the firms’ losses piled up. The companies, which play a critical part in the housing market, buy mortgages from lenders and then package them into securities to sell to investors, remain under federal oversight.) The moratoriums will last until mid-May but could be extended, according to regulators.

How do I figure out if my loan is backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac?

Homeowners can look up whether their loans are backed by the mortgage companies through Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s websites. Fannie Mae’s online form can be found here, and Freddie Mac can be found here. What if I do not have an FHA loan or one backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac? About 5 million homeowners with loans valued at $3.7 trillion are not covered by the HUD or FHFA moratoriums, according to Inside Mortgage Finance, an industry research group. Some states, including California and New York, have paused foreclosure and eviction that would also apply to those borrowers. But without a blanket moratorium, these homeowners must negotiate arrangements with their mortgage servicer one by one.

I haven’t missed a mortgage payment yet but just lost my job. What are my options?

While it can take months or years for someone to lose their home through the foreclosure process, many Americans may soon fall behind as companies shutter their doors to guard against the spread of the coronavirus and lay off workers. For borrowers with loans backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, mortgage servicers have been ordered to offer generous forbearance programs allowing borrowers affected by the coronavirus to skip their mortgage payments for as long as a year. Borrowers must apply for the mortgage relief through their mortgage servicer, which collects monthly payments and will decide how long the assistance will last.

HUD orders 60-day foreclosure moratorium for homeowners affected by coronavirus

“The government is essentially offering a year-long payment holiday so those who lose their jobs from COVID-19 can stay in their homes without worrying about mortgage payments or foreclosure,” Jaret Seiberg, financial services analyst at Cowen Washington Research Group, said in a research note. Many people in forbearance programs will not have to make another mortgage payment until May 2021, Seiberg said. But, again, the level of relief a homeowner receives will depend on who owns their loan. California Gov. Gavin Newsom recently announced that the nation’s largest banks, including JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo, had agreed to temporarily suspend residential mortgage payments for people affected by the coronavirus in the state for 90 days. But one bank, Bank of America, declined to sign on, saying it would offer mortgage relief on a case-by-base, month-by-month basis instead.

How long will it take to arrange a deal with my mortgage servicer?

Some borrowers may have trouble reaching their servicer quickly as the industry is grappling with the same issues as the rest of the country, including employees working from home and practicing social distancing. Borrowers should not panic, said Broeksmit, the Mortgage Bankers Association president. While mortgage payments are typically due the first of the month, borrowers are not likely to be considered late until the 15th, he said. “You have a little bit of time before you need to make arrangement with your servicer,” he said. A forbearance program can typically be approved within a few days, and unlike during the 2008 housing crisis, borrowers will not be required to submit tons of paperwork, Broeksmit said.

If given mortgage relief, do I have to repay the payments I skip?

Mortgage servicers are expected to allow millions of borrowers affected by the crisis to skip some mortgage payments. But the money will have to be paid back. Think of it as a loan rather than a gift. Mortgage industry seeks bailout help as millions poised to stop paying mortgages Some borrowers will be told to repay the entire past due amount all at once, while others will be given several months to catch up. But regulators are also encouraging banks to simply extend the length of the borrower’s mortgage rather than forcing them to catch up in a short amount of time. Repayment arrangements must also be arranged through mortgage servicers.

Have additional questions you’d like to see addressed in this FAQ or others? Send an email to caresacttips@washpost.com

Office of the Attorney General (OAG): CONSUMER ALERT: Coronavirus (COVID-19): Know Your Rights

Protect Yourself from Scams and Fraud

Scammers may attempt to defraud consumers by selling products that are ineffective at preventing the disease and spreading misinformation through social media and other channels. Other scammers may pretend to solicit donations to help coronavirus victims, but instead are stealing consumers’ money and personal information.

Here are some tips to protect yourself from these scams:

  • Beware of emails claiming to be from the CDC or experts saying that they have information about the virus. For the most up-to-date information about the Coronavirus and prevention tips, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO).
  • Consult a medical professional for questions about prevention and treatment. Ignore offers for vaccinations and be wary of advertisements for cures or treatments for the disease. While the best way to prevent this illness is to avoid exposure to the virus, the CDC and the DC Department of Health have tips to prevent the spread of respiratory illnesses.
  • Do your own research before donating to a charity. Remember that an organization may not be authentic just because it uses words like “CDC” or “government” in its name or has reputable looking seals or logos on its materials. There are a number of independent online sources you can use to verify that a charity is legitimate. Use OAG’s free resource to learn more tips on how to avoid falling victim to charity scams.
  • Report scams to the Office of the Attorney General (OAG): If you believe you have been the victim of a scam, contact OAG by calling 202-442-9828, emailing consumer.protection@dc.gov , or submitting a complaint online.

OAG works to educate District residents about their consumer rights, responds to individual consumer complaints, and takes law enforcement action when appropriate.

Report Price Gouging

The District of Columbia’s natural disaster consumer protection law is now in effect following the Mayor’s declaration of a state of emergency today. District law prevents any individual or company from overcharging for similar goods or services that were sold in the 90 days before the Mayor’s emergency declaration (e.g., overcharging for products such as sanitizer, tissue paper, cleaning and disinfecting products, among others). Individuals and companies that break the law are subject to $5,000 fines per violation and the revocation of licenses and permits.

Submit a complaint: OAG has established a rapid-response team to investigate consumer complaints about price gouging. If you believe you have been overcharged, you can report price gouging to OAG by:

Know Your Rights to Paid Sick Leave

District’s Sick and Safe Leave Act (SSLA) requires most employers to provide employees with paid sick leave, which allows workers to take paid leave from work due to illness. Here are some answers to frequently asked questions about the SSLA:

  • How do employees earn paid sick leave? Employees earn paid sick leave based on hours worked. The rate at which paid sick leave is earned depends on the size of the employer and is summarized in the table below:
  • When can employees begin using paid sick leave? Employees can begin using paid sick leave after working for their employer for 90 days.
  • What can employees use paid sick leave for? Employees may take paid sick leave due to physical or mental illness. The SSLA also permits employees to take paid sick leave for other purposes as well, such as caring for family members suffering from physical or mental illness and seeking medical diagnosis or care (including preventive care).
  • What other rights do I have under SSLA? Paid sick leave is a right and employers cannot discharge, demote, or discipline employees for taking paid sick leave that they have earned.
  • How do I report violations of the SSLA? If you believe your paid sick leave rights are being violated, contact the Office of the Attorney General by calling 202-442-9854. Workers can learn about their rights under District law and how they can get help if their rights are being violated at: https://oag.dc.gov/workers-rights.

OAG works to hold abusive employers accountable for wage theft, recover wages for workers who have been harmed, and educate workers about their rights.

Understand Your Civil Rights Protections

District businesses should treat consumers and employees fairly despite the ongoing public health crisis.

  • District law requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to workers with disabilities. For examples, employees that request to work from home because of a medical condition that weakens their immune system should be accommodated to the extent possible.
  • District law prohibits businesses from discriminating against consumers and employees. For example, District businesses cannot discriminate against people of specific racial groups or people from specific foreign countries based on stereotypes about their race or national origin.
  • Report discrimination: If you experience discrimination of any kind, report it to OAG by calling 202-727-3400, emailing OAGCivilRights@dc.gov, or filling out our online form. You can also file a complaint with D.C. Office of Human Rights through their online civil rights complaint form.

New Emergency Protections for DC Residents

Under new legislation passed by the D.C. Council, tenants have new protections during public health emergencies:

Protections for Tenants

  • Landlords may not evict residential or commercial tenants. Evictions that have already been filed may not move forward and no new evictions may be filed.
  • Landlords may not charge late fees for any month in which the Mayor has declared a public health emergency

Protections for Consumers

  • Utility companies may not disconnect your gas, water, or electric service
  • Companies and individuals may not illegally stockpile essential items, such as sanitizer. Violating this stockpiling provision will result in a $5,000 fine per violation.

Report violations of these protections to OAG by calling (202) 442-9828, emailing Consumer.Protection@dc.gov, or submitting a complaint online.

DC Jobs with Justice: COVID-19 Resources

KYR_-UI

Learn more about Unemployment Benefits

KYR_-FMLA

Learn more about DC Family Medical Leave Act 

KYR_-Benefits

Learn more about SNAP, TANF, Medicaid and DC Alliance

KYR_-Housing

Learn more about evictions, utilities, and homelessness services

Infographics for web

Posters to print

Links to other resources:

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Workers Rights and Resources

Right to Paid Sick Days

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CWA: COVID-19 Information for Non-Union Workers

Are you unsafe at work?

What can you do when your employer is not adequately protecting employees from the COVID-19 pandemic? The answer is you can take action as a group.

If you are currently a CWA member or a worker in a CWA-represented workplace, check out this page for resources and information: cwa-union.org/covid-19 . Everyone else, read on about your right to engage in protected concerted activities.

Protected Concerted Activity

For most private sector employees covered by the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), this federal law protects you and your co-workers when you take group action (which means two or more people) to address urgent health and safety concerns with your employer.

Co-workers taking action together to address workplace issues is considered to be “Protected Concerted Activity” under federal law. Protected concerted activity means that your employer cannot lawfully retaliate against you and your co-workers for taking action together to stay safe at work. To learn more or to see if these federal protections apply to your workplace, check out these Frequently Asked Questions as well as detailed information on Protected Concerted Activity.

Click here for the overview flyer. 

Please fill this formout if you are concerned about working during this Coronavirus Pandemic.

COVID-19 Resources for Undocumented Workers in Washington, DC

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DMV Restaurant Worker Resource Guide
The Restaurant Opportunities Center of Washington DC has put together a guide for workers that includes legal resources, information about the Family Medical Leave Act, DC Paid Sick Leave, Medical Assistance, and how to apply for unemployment.

Support for Workers

DMV Restaurant Worker Relief Fund
Restaurant workers are at the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis. Not only have so many of us been exposed to hundreds of people in the past few months of work, but now we are seeing the drastic cut in shifts, hours, the denial of paid sick leave, full fledged layoffs and temporary restaurant closures. Restaurant workers often live pay check to paycheck and are not provided with benefits such as health insurance. Once restaurants start to close there is little cushion for workers to fall back upon.

DMV Service Industry Support Group (COVID 19)
This group is a dedicated space for service industry workers to: vent, share resources/information, share stories and seek/provide community support. We know that service industry workers are suffering with cut shifts & hours, layoffs, accessing paid sick leave — all while being at the frontlines of the current pandemic.

Service Industry Assistance Programs
Central reference point for aid programs in Washington DC

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Hook Hall Helps
Free nutritional meals and needed groceries/supplies for hospitality industry workers, food care kits for anyone, meals for Kids in the Community and family programming.  Check out the website for more details.

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Unemployment Resources

Coronavirus DC: Unemployment Resources

With Mayor Bowser adjusting the District of Columbia’s operating status in response to coronavirus (COVID-19), District residents may file for unemployment compensation at dcnetworks.org

Getting Started

To begin the process of filing for your unemployment benefits, you will need to have the following information readily available:

  • Your social security number
  • Your most recent 30-day employer’s name, address, phone number and dates of employment
  • Your Alien Registration Number, if you are not a US Citizen
  • Your DD214, if you are ex-military
  • Your Standard Form 8 or Standard Form 50, if you are a former federal employee
  • Severance pay information (only applicable if you did or will receive severance pay)
  • Pension

Please note that confidential unemployment compensation information may be requested and utilized for other governmental purposes, including, but not limited to, verification of eligibility under other government programs. This notice is required by 20 C.F.R. § 603.11

For more information, visit the Department of Employment Services Unemployment Compensation website.

Family Medical Leave

The one-year employment requirement and 1,000-hour work requirement shall not apply to an employee who has been ordered or recommended to quarantine or isolate due to COVID-19. To learn more, please contact the Office for Wage & Hour at owh.ask@dc.gov or (202) 671-1880.

NY Times: Your Money: A Hub for Help During the Coronavirus Crisis

If your income has fallen or been cut off completely, we’re here to help. This guide will connect you to the basic information you’ll need to get through this, including on government benefits, free services and financial strategies.

What you need to know:

If you have a question that we have not answered about various forms of relief — or something you can offer that large numbers of people can access — please write to hubforhelp@nytimes.com. Ron and Tara will read every message.

How unemployment insurance works

A lot depends on where you live.

One important note: You might not have to lose your job to qualify. If you’re quarantined or have been furloughed — and you’re not being paid but expect to return to your job eventually — you may be able to get unemployment benefits.

States set their own rules for eligibility and benefits, which are generally calculated as a percentage of your income over the past year, up to a certain maximum.

Some states are more generous than others, but unemployment typically replaces about 45 percent of your lost income. Most states pay benefits for 26 weeks, but some have pared that back to as little as 14 weeks.

Many states cover only full-time workers, and some have made it more difficult for temporary workers to get coverage. Gig workers are also unlikely to qualify because they’re largely considered self-employed.

There is $1 billion earmarked for unemployment insurance in the coronavirus relief package. Half of that money can be used to immediately bolster staffing, technology and other administrative functions that have struggled to meet demand. States can collect the second half after experiencing a 10 percent rise in unemployment, as long as they take certain steps to temporarily make it easier for applicants to qualify.

UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS: Read Tara’s full explainer here.

Who and what the new paid leave law covers

The coronavirus emergency relief package gives many American workers paid leave if they need to take time off because of the outbreak, but there are lots of exceptions.

Most workers at small and midsize companies, as well as government employees, can get paid leave as long as they’ve been employed at least 30 days.

Qualified workers can get two weeks of paid sick leave if they are ill, quarantined or seeking diagnosis or preventive care for coronavirus, or if they are caring for sick family members. They can get 12 weeks of paid leave to care for children whose schools are closed, or whose child care provider is unavailable because of outbreak.

Part-time workers will be paid the amount they typically earn in a two-week period. People who are self-employed — including gig workers like Uber drivers and Instacart shoppers — can also receive paid leave, but they must calculate their average daily income and claim it as a tax credit.

There are gaps, though. Businesses with fewer than 50 workers can apply for an exemption, and companies with more than 500 employees are excluded from the rules entirely. Many workers at big businesses already have paid sick leave, but their low-wage workers are the least likely to be covered. The New America Foundation has published a detailed list of large employers (mostly consumer-facing companies like retailers, restaurant chains and hotels) and their policies.

These changes aren’t permanent. The leave law expires Dec. 31.

PAID LEAVE: Claire Cain Miller has more details here.

How to pause your federal student loans

The U.S. Department of Education has granted a payment waiver of at least 60 days to many people, according to a news release. But it’s not necessarily automatic.

In general, you have to call your loan servicer to request a waiver and to make sure that your loan is eligible. If you are already more than 31 days late, your loan servicer will suspend your payments automatically. Your servicer will not charge interest during this time, and the waiver is not supposed to hurt your credit score.

The waiver does not apply to private student loans. One big private lender, Sallie Mae, said it is offering suspension of payment for up to three months, with no damage to a borrower’s credit. Another one, Navient, made an identical offer for “qualified” borrowers; a spokesman said that you just need to contact the company and explain how your financial situation has changed.

A third big private lender, Wells Fargo, says it will offer help, but a spokesman said the bank would not commit to a set number of months or any other specifics.

Using the waiver to pause your federal student loan payments may not be the best move for people in distress. If your income has fallen dramatically, it may be better to enter an income-driven repayment program. Low-income borrowers enrolled in those programs often end up with no monthly payments for as long as their income stays low.

If you do make any changes to what you’re paying, don’t forget to adjust any automatic payments you have set up, said Bonnie Latreille of the Student Borrower Protection Center.

Last week, the federal government announced an automatic student loan interest waiver for federally-held loans. That remains in effect if you don’t request the new payment waiver. But the interest waiver alone doesn’t lower your monthly payment: Instead, you’d pay what you normally do, and the full amount will go toward the loan’s principal. Ron’s column explains the details.

You have three more months to file your federal taxes

The federal government has moved the tax filing deadline to July 15. You don’t have to file your return or make payments until then, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin wrote on Twitter.

The I.R.S. had already said there will be no interest or penalties for those who wait to pay until July. If you are owed a refund, you’ll still receive it as you normally would if you file your tax return, no matter when you submit it.

If you’ve already filed a return and scheduled a payment for April 15, you can call the I.R.S. at 888-353-4537 and cancel it, according to a reader who did this himself. We tried the number, too, and the cancellation option appeared to be working as he described.

Don’t forget about your state income taxes. The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants is tracking state changes on its website.

Help for renters and homeowners

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has announced a nationwide eviction and foreclosure moratorium. Many homeowners have a mortgage owned by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, which have suspended foreclosures and evictions for at least 60 days. This includes foreclosures that are already in progress.

The order also applies to people with loans backed by the Federal Housing Administration — so-called F.H.A. loans.

To find out if Fannie or Freddie own your mortgage, you can search your address on this federal government site. Even if it comes up “no,” contact your loan servicer if you are in distress. They can double-check for you, or possibly offer other options for relief, like forbearance.

If you rent, the best national resource we’ve found so far is the search-by-state function on Justshelter.org. This offers information on local organizations that can provide advice to renters in distress. Just Shelter’s founders are Matthew Desmond, the author of the book “Evicted,” and Tessa Lowinske Desmond.

Mr. Desmond is also the founder of Eviction Lab; it is publishing a list of local and regional actions to pause evictions of renters.

FORECLOSURES AND EVICTIONS

Read more about federal, state and local actions here.

Ways to keep the lights on and the phones working

Some utility providers are offering to stop cutting people off for nonpayment.

A number of large internet companies have agreed not to terminate residential or small business customers who can’t pay their bills: AT&T, Comcast, Cox, RCN, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon. A full list of companies is available on the Federal Communications Commission site.

It is not yet clear whether companies want customers to call to invoke this relief and provide proof or whether they will offer it automatically to everyone. People who need help should call and ask.

A number of water service providers have either suspended shut-offs for nonpayment or don’t shut service off for late payments generally, according to a ProPublica roundup. They include Atlanta; Birmingham, Ala.; Long Beach, Calif.; Los Angeles; Newark; New York City and St. Louis.

In Washington state, the main Seattle area utilities are suspending cutoffs as well. In addition, the provider of electric and water service in Seattle is allowing people to self-certify their recent income reductions in order to qualify for at least half off their bills.

In California, Pacific Gas and Electric has, until further notice, stopped shutting off its services to consumers and businesses who have not paid.

In New York, Con Edison also has temporarily suspended any electric and gas service shut-offs.

If utilities in other areas follow suit, they are likely to publish alerts somewhere on the top of their websites or in the news release section of their pages.

More advice that will help

  • How to help. We’ll be adding more resources soon both for people who want to donate and those who may be in need of assistance from a nonprofit. In the meantime, we’ve subscribed to the “Daily Generosity” text alert from Giving Tuesday for information on organizations that are already helping. Text “GivingTuesday” to 33777 to sign up.
  • Should you stop 401(k) contributions? No! Market crashes are nauseating, especially if you have not experienced one. No one can say for sure when the market will stabilize, but time is in your favor: You have years — decades, even! — to reap returns when the market rises again. Need another pep talk? Let Ann Carrns help here.
  • Consumer lenders have offered to help. But some have been more generous than others. Here’s a long list from the banking trade association, and here’s Ron’s column on which lenders stepped up early to let people skip payments, with and without interest accruing. Since he wrote it, both Ally Bank and Bank of America have offered to allow borrowers to defer loan payments.
  • Building an emergency fund in an emergency. It’s not easy, but even a cushion of $250 can help stave off disaster. Ann has some advice for how you can build up a little extra cash on hand.
  • Financial planners offer free advice to distressed individuals. Dozens of members of the XY Planning Network have offered to help people through phone consultations. The Financial Planning Association has its own list of volunteer certified financial planners as well.
  • Where to get Social Security help. The Social Security Administration is mostly closing its 1,200 offices for routine requests like help with benefit claims. Those requests should go through the agency’s toll-free phone line, (800) 772-1213, and its website. In-person assistance is still available for crucial services, like reinstatement of benefits and assistant for those with severe disabilities. Those seeking in-person help must call in advance. Mark Miller has details here.
  • How to prep for refinancing your mortgage. Mortgage rates are low right now, and refinancing is a good way to free up cash. But that means everyone else is trying to do it, too. Here’s Ron’s guide to making sure you don’t get kicked to the end of the line.
  • What a shady sales pitch looks like. Sometimes you can tell by the exclamation marks. But one financial planner says to beware if you can’t explain the math of how an investment or debt relief pitch works on the back of a cocktail napkin. More here from Tara.

Ron Lieber has been the Your Money columnist since 2008 and is the author of the forthcoming book, “The Price You Pay for College.” @ronlieberFacebook

Tara Siegel Bernard covers personal finance. Before joining The Times in 2008, she was deputy managing editor at FiLife, a personal finance website, and an editor at CNBC. She also worked at Dow Jones and contributed regularly to The Wall Street Journal. @tarasbernard

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Looking for a Job?

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Resources for Businesses

Small Business Administration (SBA) is has accepting applications for the DC Disaster Loans
Mayor Muriel Bowser announced that the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has accepted the District of Columbia’s declaration for assistance in the form of economic injury disaster loans following the advent of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), and DC businesses can start applying now. While the SBA directly administers this loan program, the Department of Small and Local Business Development (DSLBD), led by Director Kristi Whitfield, will liaise with the SBA on behalf of the District of Columbia.  More details and links to the application at this link.

COVID19 Grant Program Infographic

More Resources

 

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Community Resources

Community Resource Lists

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What to Do If Your Landlord Pressures Sex for Rent During COVID-19

Legal Aid COVID-19 Non-Legal Resource Guide
(Following sections were pulled from the Legal Aid COVID-19 Non-Legal Resource Guide)

Child Care: 

Consumer:

Domestic Violence:

Employment Services: 

  • Department of Employment Services
    • Unemployment Compensation: staff is on-hand to process unemployment claims and respond to questions. See more information here or call (202) 724-7000.
      • Please go here to submit a claim.
    • Worker’s Compensation: staff is on-hand to process worker’s compensation claims and respond to questions. See more information here or call (202) 671-1000.
  • National Employment Law Project – resource page to support workers

Financial Support: 

Hospitality Workers

Healthcare: 

  • DC Healthlink has a special enrollment period for any uninsured DC resident. Call (855) 532-5465.
  • Nurse Lines by Insurance Company:
  • AmeriHealth: (877) 759-6279
  • Aetna: (800) 556-1555
  • CareFirst: (800) 535-9700
  • Kaiser Permanente: (800) 777-7904
  • United: (866) 342-6892

Housing:

Hygiene: 

  • Showers
  • So Others Might Eat – 71 O St NW or call (202) 797-8806
    • Men’s Hours: 7am-9:30am
    • Women’s Hours: 9:45am-11am
    • Hygiene kits are also available
    • N Street Village Day Center – women’s center located at 1333 N St NW
      • Open 7 days a week, 7am-12:30pm
  • N Street Village Day Center – women’s center located at 1333 N St NW
    • Open 7 days a week, 7am-12:30pm

Medical Clinics: 

  • Bread for the City
    • Northwest Medical Clinic: urgent patient visits from 8:30am-12pm; call (202) 386-7020 for more information.
    • Southeast Center closed until April 1st.
  • Children’s National 
    • Visit this page for COVID-19 FAQ.
    • Visit this page for more information and resources on operations.
  • Mary’s Center – Call (844) 796-2797 before going to any clinic.
    • Clinics are open with modifications:
      • Petworth and Silver Spring locations will be closed for in-person visits on Saturday, March 21.
      • Starting Monday, March 23, all appointments after 6:00pm will be conducted virtually.
      • Lab and pharmacy hours will be 8:00am–6:00pm.
    • All other facilities closed through March 31st.
  • Unity Health Care – call (202) 469-4699 if you are concern about experiencing symptoms
  • Unity Health Clinic at N Street Village – Monday, 1pm-4pm
  • Whitman-Walker Health – call (202) 745-7000 for appointment information; you are urged to call before showing up in person. 
    • Pharmacy Hours:
      • 1525 14th St NW
        • Monday-Friday, 8am-6pm
        • Saturday, 10am-3pm
      • Max Robinson Center @ 2303 Martin Luther King Jr Ave SE
        • Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm

Mental and Behavioral Health Services:

  • Department of Behavioral Health
    • 24 hour services still operating:
  • Suicide Prevention Lifeline: (888) 793-4357
  • Community Response Team for adults in crisis:
    • (202) 673-6495
    • (888) 793-4357
  • Children and Adolescent Mobile Psychiatric Services (ChAMPS) for youth (age 6-21) in crisis: (202) 481-1440
  • Urgent Care Services
  • Assessment, counseling, and psychiatric evaluation at 35 K St NE from 8am-3:30pm
  • Pharmacy open for uninsured residents at 35 K St NE from 8am-5pm
  • Urgent Care Clinic in Moultrie Courthouse
  • For Individuals in Recovery from Substance Abuse Disorder
    • Connections App – free app to support folks in recovery
    • Many AA meetings have moved to phone and video conferencing – please email help@aa-dc.org for more information.

Public Benefits: 

If you are experiencing issues in receiving your public benefits, please call our intake line at (202) 628-1161.  You can also submit an online request for legal assistance here.

Per DC’s coronavirus response site, “For new applications for SNAP, TANF, Medicaid, Alliance or other public benefits, please go to dhs.dc.gov or visit our Service Centers to pick up a blank application. Applicants can drop off completed applications for benefits at DHS Service Centers and may be contacted by phone as necessary to complete the eligibility process.”

If you have additional questions, call (202) 727-5355.

New EBT cards will continue to be distributed from 1649 Good Hope Rd SE and 645 H St NE.

Senior Resources (60+):

Services for Immunocompromised Individuals:

  • Food & Friends – food delivery for immunocompromised and homebound individuals (referral is required)

Small Business Assistance: 

  • Mayor’s Announcement of Small Business Administration Disaster Assistance Loans
    • Business can apply here.
    • Review the three step process here.

Tax Assistance: 

**Please note that there is a lot of information currently circulating regarding the April 15th deadline. Refer to the IRS site for official updates on this matter.**

Testing for COVID-19: 

  • Nurse Triage Line: (202) 576-1117

Utility Assistance: 

Other questions: 

  • General Questions: coronavirus@dc.gov
  • DC Department of Human Services Questions: dhs.covid19@dc.gov

Other COVID-19 Toolkits:

Empower DC: Community Resource Guide
(Below are sections pulled from the Empower DC Community Resource Guide)

Domestic Violence

DC Safe: If you are in danger, call 911, our local hotline at 1-844-443-5732, or the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 and TTY 1-800-787-3224.  (Free and confidential)

My Sister’s PlaceIf you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, please call My Sister’s Place at 202-540-1064 or visit: http://mysistersplacedc.org. All of our services are free and confidential.

Healthcare

Uninsured: DC Health Link has a special enrollment period so that someone without insurance can get covered now.l (855) 532-5465

  • NEW: CareFirst is waiving deductibles, coinsurance, and copayment for diagnosis, testing, and treatment of COVID-19. CareFirst is also providing free CareFirst telemedicine via Video Visit for COVID-19 and other medical services including behavioral health, lactation support, nutrition counseling and urgent care services. CareFirst is also providing free telephone consultations for in-network primary care, general practice, internal medicine, pediatrics, OBGYN and associated nurse practitioners during this public health emergency, with no member out-of-pocket cost.

REMINDER: All insurers – Aetna, CareFirst, Kaiser Permanente, and UnitedHealthCare – have waived deductibles, coinsurance, and copayments for diagnosis and testing for COVID-19. All DC Health Link health plans provide access to telemedicine.

  • Aetna is providing telemedicine for free using its video-conferencing and Teladoc.® through June 4, 2020.
  • CareFirst is providing free CareFirst telemedicine via Video Visit for COVID-19 and other medical services including behavioral health, lactation support, nutrition counseling and urgent care services through the public health emergency.
  • Kaiser Permanente provides for free telephone, Video Visit, and email with your Kaiser provider for all services. These telehealth services are always free.
  • United HealthCare has established a free 24-Hour Emotional-Support Help Line COVID-19. This is available to United Health Care members and the public.

Housing/Shelter

District Alliance for Safe Housing (DASH)

Jewish Coalition Against Domestic Abuse (JCADA)

  • An anonymous helpline; not exclusive to Jewish folks
  • 877-88-JCADA

Calvary Women’s Service

Grace Episcopal Church

Housing support for displaced college students

Legal Services

Legal Aid online intake – https://www.legalaiddc.org/online-intake/ or call (202) 628-1161 (there are currently no walk-in hours). Legal Aid is able to help with cases related to unemployment compensation due to the health crisis.

The Washington Legal Clinic of Washington, DC:

Operating Status UpdateBeginning Tuesday, March 17, Legal Clinic staff will telework, and our office will be closed. This means we will not be holding in-person appointments or meetings.

If you are seeking legal help from the Legal Clinic:

  • Please call our main line at 202-328-5500. If your legal issue is one that our staff and volunteers can help with, we will connect you via phone with a volunteer lawyer to get more information about your case.

If you are a volunteer:

  • If you are not currently signed up for intake, but wish to learn more and get on the phone intake schedule, please contact Kelsey Vaughan at kelsey.vaughan@legalclinic.org.

Medications

Pharmacists may refill prescription medications prior to the expiration of the waiting period between refills so that people can maintain an adequate supply of medications (per Emergency Legislation)

  • Most pharmacies will deliver prescriptions. Encourage vulnerable people to have them delivered. (If their pharmacy does not do delivery, they can have the prescription moved to one that does)

Mental Health Services

DBH Access HelpLine at 1(888)7WE-HELP or 1-888-793-4357 (24/7) to get connected to services provided by the Department of Behavioral Health and its certified behavioral health care providers. Callers are referred for immediate help or ongoing care. The Helpline can also activate mobile crisis teams to respond to crisis when someone (child or adult) is unable or unwilling to travel to receive behavioral healthcare.

Georgetown Ministry Center @ Grace Episcopal Church – 1041 Wisconsin Avenue NW (Ward 2)

  • A psychiatrist sees clients regularly and on an emergency basis and offers counseling, information, referral services, showers, and laundry services for homeless folks
  • For more information, contact Wanda Pierce, Interim Director at 202-338-8301
  • www.georgetownministrycenter.org.

Additional Community Resources

Thanks to the efforts of our Mayor Mayor Bowser and Open Society Foundations for the $ 1 million investment in the District of Columbia to assist with short-term needs as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Community Mutual Aid Resources During Social Distancing

Why Social Distancing?

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“I’m so over the phrase “social distancing”—it encapsulates all that’s wrong with framing this virus in this country. No, in fact, it is *social caring* to avoid heavily trafficked public areas where you can pick up COVID and pass it onto someone who may not be able to fight it. It is *social caring* to stay at home to prevent this from spreading fast and far like wildfire. It is *social caring* to only do the most essential things to take care of you and your loved ones. Resting is *social caring.* Washing your hands is *social caring.* Not traveling is *social caring.* Checking on folks is *social caring.* Helping get groceries for others who can’t is *social caring.* There are so many ways to practice *social caring.* This is thinking beyond yourself and thinking about your community. Taiwan and Korea successfully stopped the spread of this virus because they asked their citizens to step up in their practices of *social caring.* People made considerate, grown decisions over a short period of time to do the most essential things, which was taking care of each other, full stop, thereby limiting the spread of the virus in their country. All that they did was just practice common sense. All of this is simply realizing and acting on the fact that we all depend on one another and we all need to help one another stay healthy so that our community can still function and respond effectively to those who happen to get sick. That is *SOCIAL CARING* OPERATING ON A MASS SCALE. I’m so tired of this racism towards countries that quickly engaged their own citizenry to make intelligent decisions AND equipped them to carry out those plans. Even China reacted swiftly as a group to stop this from getting more out of hand. Let’s not get swept up in this manufactured distrust, let’s invoke principles and practices of responsibility, love, and social caring. Throw the phrase *social distancing* and all this other subtle garbage social propaganda out the window, and just do what your mom taught you—pay close attention to what you do and treat others with care.” Ecaterina Burton

Mutual Aid/Social Caring Resources

“Mutual aid is a term to describe people giving each other needed material support, trying to resist the control dynamics, hierarchies, and system-affirming, oppressive arrangements of charity and social services. Mutual aid projects are a form of political participation in which people take responsibility for caring for one another and changing political conditions, not just through symbolic acts or putting pressure on their representatives in government, but by actually building new social relations that are more survivable.” https://bigdoorbrigade.com/what-is-mutual-aid/

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Citywide Mutual Aid Efforts

  • DC Mutual Aid Network Facebook Group
    This is a grassroots, community focused and lead ecosystem for folks in DC (District of Columbia) who are engaged in or are looking to plug into mutual aid in DC.
  • DC Mutual Aid Spreadsheet
    • List of many mutual aid networks across DC
  • Neighborhood Pods How-To
    • As things get harder, we show up for our neighbors. As a pod point person, you take on the responsibility of reaching out to your neighbors, checking in on what needs are arising on your block, coordinating a neighborhood group chat or phone tree, and staying in touch with the point people from other neighborhoods for resource pooling. We are trying to build a network of many neighborhood pods across DC.

 

  • The Table Church
    • A church network in the city, is organizing a web of people across the city who are able to help with grocery runs and other errands for people over 60 or who are otherwise particularly vulnerable to the coronavirus.
    • If anyone wants to help with our ongoing plans for mutual aid COVID 19 response, please text “justicia” to 618-722-8880. Meanwhile, here are two concrete ways to plug in:
      • 1-Weekly Monday night meetings at 6 p.m., Josephine Butler Center, 2437 15th St. NW, 20009
      • RSVP by texting your name and “justicia” to 618-722-8880 and come to the Monday night orientations at 5 p.m. if you are new to MLOV.
      • 2-Weekly Friday night phone calls starting Friday, 3/13
        • Spanish 7 p.m.
        • English 8 p.m.
      • RSVP by texting your name and “justicia” to 618-722-8880
    • Instructions in Spanish
      • ¡Te necesitamos! Si alguien quiere ayudar con nuestros planes en curso para la respuesta de ayuda mutua COVID-19, envíe un mensaje de texto con “justicia” al 618-722-8880 celular.
      • Mientras tanto, aquí hay dos formas concretas de conectarse:
      • No. 1
        • Reuniones semanales de lunes a la noche a las 6 p.m., Josephine Butler Center, 2437 15th St. NW, 20009
        • Confirme su asistencia enviando un mensaje de texto con su nombre y “Justicia” al 618-722-8880 y acuda a las orientaciones del lunes a las 5 p.m. si eres nuevo en MLOV.
      • No. 2
        • Llamadas telefónicas semanales los viernes por la noche a partir del viernes 3/13
          • Español 7 p.m.
          • Inglés 8 p.m.
        • Confirme su asistencia enviando un mensaje “justicia” de texto con su nombre al 618-722-8880 celular.

 

 

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Specific Neighborhood Mutual Aid Networks

By Wards

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By Neighborhoods

By Types of Groups of People

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Funding for Mutual Aid

Community Care Corps RFP
Community Care Corps has posted the RFP to fund local volunteer programs to provide non-medical care to older adults, persons with disabilities, and their caregivers. Deadline to apply: April 3 at 5:00 PM (ET), 2020

Mutual Aid Guidance and Resoures

 

Helping Small Businesses

Resource Guide: What you can do to help your community and small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic

Helping small businesses and self-employed:

  • If you are able, buy gift cards to all the places you would have frequented such as restaurants, bars, small shops, yoga/fitness studios, nail/hair salons, kids activities/gyms, theaters, music venues, museums, etc. Look at your change in routine (i.e., the coffee shop next to your office or school) and plans you’re canceling and if it was a reservation, appointment, meal, play, concert, etc., think about whether you can support that business with the purchase of a gift card, merchandise, or membership/subscription for the future instead.
  • Restaurants and bars- you can still order food for delivery or take out, and many who didn’t previously offer delivery through a service like DoorDash, GrubHub, Caviar or UberEats are now starting to.
  • Some (high end) restaurants offer a “house account” through a company called inKind
  • Shop from smaller businesses for food, alcohol, personal care products, etc. rather than big chains. Think local markets, corner stores, independent shops, grocery delivery like Hungry Harvest or Imperfect Foods, etc.
  • Send your cleaning person/personal trainer/dog walker/etc. a check if you won’t be using their services for the foreseeable future.
  • If a concert, play, etc. has been canceled, consider not asking for a refund and just look at the price you paid for it as a donation to the artist and venue.
  • Some services are going virtual/delivery–  gyms and personal trainers for example are doing FaceTime/virtual live work outs, so you can continue to support these businesses and individuals while also staying healthy. Other shops are starting delivery options so you can buy items without leaving your house.
  • Consider who you know that might be out of work now or soon (people in the service/tourism industries, artists, musicians, hourly/self-employed etc.)– could you hire them for anything? Babysitting, landscaping, repairs, other odd jobs?

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Naomi Klein, Astra Taylor, and Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor: How to Beat Coronavirus Capitalism (Youtube Video)

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Fighting Xenophobia During Coronavirus

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More Resources

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Teleconferencing, Internet Access, and Free Educational Resources

Teleconferencing

Tips on Conference Calls from Pamela Hess, ED of Arcadia Farms

If you are the organizer:
1) Take clear control. First, send an email to everyone explaining how it is going to run. You are going to exert far more control than you would in an in person meeting where you would otherwise be reading body language etc. It is for everyone’s benefit and they will be grateful at the end.
2) Share an agenda prior to the call with a note about step 1, above.
3) Tell them that you will ask them to identify/introduce themselves in turn, but they should wait till you call on them to speak so people are not talking over each other and then having awkward pauses. Ask them not to announce themselves when they call in. And ask them to put themselves on mute when they have not been called on.
4) Tell them you will call on them to talk one by one, at every point in the conversation. ie “OK, you have the agenda. Is there anything you’d like to add, Sheila? Bob? Judy?
5) When the call opens and people beep into the call, stop the conversation and say “This is (your name). Who just joined the call? ” When they answer, say “OK, Bob, the other people on this call are, X, Y, and Z”
6) Walk them through the agenda items one by one, checking in with each person BY NAME on everything before moving on. You want to minimize the need for people to feel like they need to break in, which always causes mayhem and bores everyone else.
7) Consider opening up a joint google doc or a non-phone based group chat and inviting everyone. People can type in questions or requests to that during the call so you know they have something to add. It adds a layer of complexity though, and is better for really large calls.

For participants
1) When you call in, DON’T ANNOUNCE YOURSELF. You invariably are going to be interrupting on going chit chat. Wait for the organizer to ask who joined.
2) Put yourself on mute when you are not talking.
2) Send the organizer the above tips

Everyone wins.

A Conference Call in Real Life (Satire)

 

Internet Access Resources

Educational Resources

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Absentee Voting During Coronavirus

For Primaries

It’s easy to request an absentee ballot and there’s still enough time to do so for most states with upcoming primaries.

How to Request an Absentee Ballot in DC

 

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Primaries Deadlines

Maryland
Date of primary: April 28
Deadline: Application must be received by April 21 for a ballot to be delivered via mail or fax; by April 24 for online ballot delivery.
How to apply: Request online or by mail, fax, or email.
Who can vote absentee: Everyone.

Washington, DC
Date of primary: June 2
Deadline: Application must be received by May 26.
How to apply: Request online or by mail, fax, or email.
Who can vote absentee: Everyone.

November Election

Vote.org: Absentee Ballot Deadlines

District of Columbia

Last updated on October 7, 2019
  • In Person:
  • By Mail: 7 days before Election Day.
  • Online:
Election Day.
Maryland

Last updated on October 23, 2019
  • In Person:
  • By Mail: 7 days before Election Day.
  • Online:
Postmarked on or before Election Day and received by 10am, 10 days after Election Day.
Virginia

Last updated on October 22, 2019
  • In Person: 3 days before Election Day.
  • By Mail: 7 days before Election Day.
  • Online: 7 days before Election Day.
Election Day.

Don’t Forget to Fill Out the Online 2020 Census Form!!!!

  • It’s quick and easy. The 2020 Census questionnaire will take about 10 minutes to complete.
  • It’s safe, secure, and confidential. Your information and privacy are protected.
  • Your response helps to direct billions of dollars in federal funds to local communities for schools, roads, and other public services.
  • Results from the 2020 Census will be used to determine the number of seats each state has in Congress and your political representation at all levels of government.

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Free and Discounted Resources

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How Can You Help?

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Policy Advocacy/Enforcement

(Petitions, phone calls, price gouging reporting, etc.)

Donations

(Donate food, supplies, money, volunteer, etc.)

  • DMV Restaurant Worker Relief Fund
    • Restaurant workers are at the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis. Not only have so many of us been exposed to hundreds of people in the past few months of work, but now we are seeing the drastic cut in shifts, hours, the denial of paid sick leave, full fledged layoffs and temporary restaurant closures. Restaurant workers often live pay check to paycheck and are not provided with benefits such as health insurance. Once restaurants start to close there is little cushion for workers to fall back upon.
  • COVID-19 Artists/Freelancers to Support
  • Theater Washington: Helping Theatre Professionals in Need

Mutual Aid

(Support your local community mutual aid effort)

Citywide Mutual Aid Efforts

  • DC Mutual Aid Network Facebook Group
    This is a grassroots, community focused and lead ecosystem for folks in DC (District of Columbia) who are engaged in or are looking to plug into mutual aid in DC.
  • DC Mutual Aid Spreadsheet
    • List of many mutual aid networks across DC
  • Neighborhood Pods How-To
    • As things get harder, we show up for our neighbors. As a pod point person, you take on the responsibility of reaching out to your neighbors, checking in on what needs are arising on your block, coordinating a neighborhood group chat or phone tree, and staying in touch with the point people from other neighborhoods for resource pooling. We are trying to build a network of many neighborhood pods across DC.

 

  • The Table Church
    • A church network in the city, is organizing a web of people across the city who are able to help with grocery runs and other errands for people over 60 or who are otherwise particularly vulnerable to the coronavirus.
    • If anyone wants to help with our ongoing plans for mutual aid COVID 19 response, please text “justicia” to 618-722-8880. Meanwhile, here are two concrete ways to plug in:
      • 1-Weekly Monday night meetings at 6 p.m., Josephine Butler Center, 2437 15th St. NW, 20009
      • RSVP by texting your name and “justicia” to 618-722-8880 and come to the Monday night orientations at 5 p.m. if you are new to MLOV.
      • 2-Weekly Friday night phone calls starting Friday, 3/13
        • Spanish 7 p.m.
        • English 8 p.m.
      • RSVP by texting your name and “justicia” to 618-722-8880
    • Instructions in Spanish
      • ¡Te necesitamos! Si alguien quiere ayudar con nuestros planes en curso para la respuesta de ayuda mutua COVID-19, envíe un mensaje de texto con “justicia” al 618-722-8880 celular.
      • Mientras tanto, aquí hay dos formas concretas de conectarse:
      • No. 1
        • Reuniones semanales de lunes a la noche a las 6 p.m., Josephine Butler Center, 2437 15th St. NW, 20009
        • Confirme su asistencia enviando un mensaje de texto con su nombre y “Justicia” al 618-722-8880 y acuda a las orientaciones del lunes a las 5 p.m. si eres nuevo en MLOV.
      • No. 2
        • Llamadas telefónicas semanales los viernes por la noche a partir del viernes 3/13
          • Español 7 p.m.
          • Inglés 8 p.m.
        • Confirme su asistencia enviando un mensaje “justicia” de texto con su nombre al 618-722-8880 celular.

 

 

united_way

Specific Neighborhood Mutual Aid Networks

By Wards

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By Neighborhoods

By Types of Groups of People

Community Care Corps RFP
Community Care Corps has posted the RFP to fund local volunteer programs to provide non-medical care to older adults, persons with disabilities, and their caregivers. Deadline to apply: April 3 at 5:00 PM (ET), 2020

Mutual Aid/Social Caring Guidance

Helping Small Businesses

Resource Guide: What you can do to help your community and small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic

Helping small businesses and self-employed:

  • If you are able, buy gift cards to all the places you would have frequented such as restaurants, bars, small shops, yoga/fitness studios, nail/hair salons, kids activities/gyms, theaters, music venues, museums, etc. Look at your change in routine (i.e., the coffee shop next to your office or school) and plans you’re canceling and if it was a reservation, appointment, meal, play, concert, etc., think about whether you can support that business with the purchase of a gift card, merchandise, or membership/subscription for the future instead.
  • Restaurants and bars- you can still order food for delivery or take out, and many who didn’t previously offer delivery through a service like DoorDash, GrubHub, Caviar or UberEats are now starting to.
  • Some (high end) restaurants offer a “house account” through a company called inKind
  • Shop from smaller businesses for food, alcohol, personal care products, etc. rather than big chains. Think local markets, corner stores, independent shops, grocery delivery like Hungry Harvest or Imperfect Foods, etc.
  • Send your cleaning person/personal trainer/dog walker/etc. a check if you won’t be using their services for the foreseeable future.
  • If a concert, play, etc. has been canceled, consider not asking for a refund and just look at the price you paid for it as a donation to the artist and venue.
  • Some services are going virtual/delivery–  gyms and personal trainers for example are doing FaceTime/virtual live work outs, so you can continue to support these businesses and individuals while also staying healthy. Other shops are starting delivery options so you can buy items without leaving your house.
  • Consider who you know that might be out of work now or soon (people in the service/tourism industries, artists, musicians, hourly/self-employed etc.)– could you hire them for anything? Babysitting, landscaping, repairs, other odd jobs?

Food Access Organizations that Need Help

Volunteer Opportunities

  • Aunt Bertha – Aunt Bertha’s network connects people seeking help and verified social care providers that serve them by zip code. Contact your local shelter to see what help and/or items may be needed
  • Capital Area Food Bank– In critical need of volunteers to help sort and pack food in their warehouse and assist at their offsite food distributions
  • DC Public Schools– In need of volunteers to help keep running their many meal sites for kids in DC during school closures! Please fill out the linked survey.
  • Food and Friends DC– In urgent need of extra volunteers throughout the coming weeks. There are two volunteer opportunities, food preparation and packaging and meal and grocery delivery
  • Food Rescue US– Volunteers with vehicles needed to pick up and deliver food from businesses to DC residents in need
  • Grace’s Table– Looking for volunteers to help feed the homeless each Saturday
  • Martha’s Table – Volunteers needed to help prepare and bag food.
  • We Are Family– Volunteer to deliver groceries to seniors.
  • COVID-19 Response / Serve your neighbor! volunteer to run errands for our elderly or immunocompromised neighbors
  • Ward 1 Errand Volunteers – Ward 1 has a sign-up sheet for volunteers who want to run errands for those who are housebound

Financial Donation Opportunities

  • Black Lives Matter DC– Supply drive for families. In need of donations (toiletries, personal and baby products, bags and financial)
  • Bread for the City – Accepting monetary donations for groceries, diapers, and medical supplies to give clients during open hours. Please consider making a donation to support their efforts here.
  • Calvary Women’s Services – Financial contributions allow them to maintain a safe and caring home for all the women in their housing programs
  • Capital Area Food Bank– Financial contributions appreciated to continue their mission of providing food to food insecure neighbors
  • DC Central Kitchen– Financial contributions ensure that they can continue to serve the community
  • DC Dream Center- In need of financial donations to continue providing free meals and supplies to those in need in Southeast DC
  • Food it Forward – Help keep DC restaurant jobs, and help feed DC families in need by buying a meal package. Martha’s Table has teamed up with Clyde’s Restaurant Group, amongst others, to deliver meals to those in need — while helping keep restaurant workers employed
  • Greater DC Diaper Bank – Preparing to serve families for the next two months. Please consider making a donation.
  • Little Sesame– Every $10 in gift cards you buy provides a meal for someone in vulnerable communities
  • Martha’s Table– In need of financial donations appreciated to continue their education, health and wellness, and family engagement programs
  • Miriam’s Kitchen–  In need of financial donations to help neighbors experiencing homelessness receive access to a sink or have a home to stay when they are sick
  • Momma’s Safe Haven – In need of donations to continue providing programming for youth and providing rides to/from DCPS meal sites
  • N Street Village– in need of financial donations to continue providing key services and meals for thousands of women experiencing poverty and homelessness in DC.
  • ROC-DC– In need of financial donations to provide emergency relief to impacted restaurant workers in the DMV
  • Sasha Bruce Youthwork– In need of financial support to help them keep their doors open to homeless youth
  • So Others Might Eat (SOME) – SOME is in need of financial donations for supplies and meals for their clients
  • World Central Kitchen– Donate to World Central Kitchen or buy gift cards to one of the Think Food Group restaurants to support their community kitchens

Supplies Needed

Donate or Help Rescue Food with Food Rescue US

These are very challenging times for many, but one silver lining of all this is the many organizations and individuals who are working tirelessly to help those in need in their communities. Food assistance organizations are already facing higher demand for food. However, as restaurants close or alter their menus, events and catering orders are canceled, and offices are moving to 100% telework, there is a large amount of excess food that could be donated and needs to be placed with a food assistance organization very quickly. Food Rescue US- DC’s network of volunteers is ready to rescue that food and get it to the organizations who need it.

What can you do? Please, spread the word to restaurants, cafes, caterers, event spaces, offices, and any other businesses who may find themselves with excess food to donate that Food Rescue US – DC can rescue that food and make sure it gets to the right place.

If you have food to donate or would like to volunteer to rescue food, you can:

For information about why to donate food and the benefits and protections for donors, please refer to Donating Excess Food During the COVID-19 National Emergency, and for information specific to the DC area, please refer to Food Recovery in the District of Columbia: A Legal Guide.

Types of food that CAN be donated (please see the FRUS Guide for more detail):

  • Fresh produce (fruits and vegetables)
  • Dairy products (eggs, milk, cheese, yogurt, etc.)
  • Fresh or frozen meats
  • Baked goods
  • Pre-packaged foods (entrees, salads, cut produce)
  • Dry goods, non-perishables
  • Prepared foods that have not been served to the customer

These are unprecedented times, and we could use your help to make sure that people who need food have access to it, while we minimize the wasting of food.

Thank you!

DC Food Recovery Working Group & Food Rescue US – DC

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Keeping Sane
Mental Health Resources and Things to Do During Quarantine

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Mental Health Resources

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Quarantine Ideas

#QuarantineActivities & Social/Physical Distancing Resources to Maintain Sanity
How are you holding up today? Updated daily with hourly to-dos. This list itself is useful to anybody & everybody scared & bored & in lockdown, but some resources specific to Washington, DC. Crowdsourced random content in a bit of a messy state, so not perfect, nor comprehensive – lots moving. Keep on adding, even perhaps your virtual happy hours and game nights. We’re all stir crazy! And, of course, please see the list of ways to help here in DC – and the box below.

Email with your additions to roseate.ajaja@gmail.com

*TABLE OF CONTENTS*

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89845149_10163412588510314_7396408320547880960_oby Adrienne Maree Brown

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Books

Virtual Work Outs

  • Lighthouse Yoga offering two free live online classes (via Zoom) on 3/15; after that you can pay for online classes
  • Barre3 is extending 15 days of complimentary unlimited access to barre3 online. You’ll get access to hundreds of 10- to 60-minute barre3 workouts focused on building strength, restoring balance, decreasing pain and stress, and increasing endurance. To get started, go to barre3.com/redeem and enter the code BARRE3HOMEBODY
  • Bluebird Sky Yoga will begin streaming its lunchtime yoga class online starting March 16 for free. However, if you have the means, you can give either a $10 community donation or pay the $19 drop-in fee via a link provided during the class. The classes will be streamed via Facebook Live and will take place at 12:30 PM. The group expects to stream each lunchtime class Monday through Friday, although the studio will reassess if it encounters any technical difficulties. Follow the group on Facebook and Instagram for updates.
  • Yoga International has 14-day free trials for yoga class streaming
  • 305 Fitness Classes youtube page which livestreams a class every day at noon and 6 pm, and folks can access at a later time.
  • #QuarantineActivities & Social/Physical Distancing Resources to Maintain Sanity:

Inspiring Thoughts

“Novel #coronavirus has become a public health crisis that demands clarity and global cooperation. These moments of uncertainty contain both opportunity and danger for all of us. Here’s some suggested public messaging that @nacarty and I put together for progressives:

Most of us do what we can to keep ourselves + our loved ones safe + healthy. Now, as the novel coronavirus spreads across the globe, we are worried about our families. We are scared, but the only way to fight this virus is to come together as a united global community.

This virus is revealing to us the interconnectedness of our world in a very personal way. It is showing, conclusively, that the health and well being of one is intimately bound to the health and well being of all. This virus has given us an opportunity to rise to the occasion.

We can take action to protect our loved ones + the most vulnerable who will be hit hardest: those whose health is already compromised, those who are denied access to medical care, those who bear great risk in asking for help + those on the frontlines of poverty + pollution.

It is our responsibility to come together protect the lives of those around us by limiting the spread of this disease as much as possible. Yet, there will be those who will try to seize such a crisis to further entrench their own interests.

They will divide us against each other based on where we come from, what we have + based on our perceived health and worthiness. They will harness panic to crack down on borders, scapegoat Asian Americans, grant huge tax breaks to corporations, limit our rights to vote + dissent.

They will not keep us healthy and they want us to operate from a place of fear. But, our fates are tied. Only by working together will we defeat this outbreak.

We are greater than fear.

Now is the time for action.

As individuals, we can wash your hands and check in on our neighbors. As a collective, we can demand our government do everything it possibly can to protect our public health, such as:
– provide paid sick leave for people to stay home with their families

– compensate those who must be quarantined
– guarantee quality health care and a warm bed for all
– protect the rights of workers who care for the ill in our homes and our hospitals
– ensure a vaccine, when available, is free and readily accessible to everyone

This moment is scary + seem daunting, but we’ve been here before like when @actupny + LGBTQ activists united to confront the HIV/AIDS crisis in spite of corrupt CEOs + irresponsible politicians. We are all better off when each + every one of us is treated with dignity + respect.

The things that will help us fight this virus are good for us long term + will model the cooperation we need to address other challenges like climate change. Now is the time for us to unite across our differences + to protect one another in pursuit of a better brighter tomorrow.” Anthony Torres

Yesterday, walking in the redwoods with a dog, I decided to ask the trees about COVID-19. (This was a direct suggestion from Adrienne Maree Brown; I’ll link to her piece in the comments because there’s lots of good stuff in there.)

Basically, what I heard from the trees is that even this virus has a message for us if we are willing to hear it. No, they were not saying that “God created a virus to punish us”–trust me, I checked, because I have not forgotten the 1980s. But they were clear that there was a message.

As far as I could make it out, the immediate message is SLOW DOWN and start taking care–of yourselves, of your own bodies, of each other, of the people and other living beings who are being ground up and spit out of all your systems.

They said: “You thought it was impossible to make a sudden about-face, to step outside the relentless economic processes that reduce all of life to ‘resources’ to be expended. You said ‘We know we have to change everything in the next ten years, but we can’t imagine how.’ But here you are, brought to a grinding halt by something so tiny it is invisible to the eye.

“What if you used this time when all the events are getting canceled and many of you are being told not to report to work to reconnect with what you love?

“What if this virus brings you to your knees so that you have to admit that you don’t really know how to move forward? And then what if you started reconsidering how you’ve been living? And then reaching out to each other–especially to those most at risk– and talking about what you long for and noticing the redwoods and the daffodils and talking to us, too? What if?” Nichola Torbett

Adrienne Maree Brown: On Rushing Toward Apocalypse (with Aja Taylor)

a conversation on the possibilities of this moment, with Aja Taylor *

Aja: DC, MD and VA have now all declared states of emergency. Italy’s death toll has officially surged past 1,000. COVID-19 has been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization, and yet – I am on the edge of my seat with barely-contained wonderment. My 3rd grade self – obsessed both with epidemics and dystopian fiction – is positively mystified by what we are seeing across the globe.

It isn’t the spread of the disease that mystifies me, but rather the opportunities and truths being unearthed in this very moment.

amb: i am on a plane from italy to the u.s. via paris, having canceled a beautifully planned two-month journey through europe. i was in tuscany for the last two weeks, during which the word ‘quarantine’ became a new undercurrent rhythm in my ears, a heartbeat. i’m on sabbatical, which will show in my unspooled writing voice (Aja will be more direct so feel free to skip me, she says it all). i’ve been trying to intentionally avoid the news, the triggering, election year ughs. my friends and family have gently screamed questions at me while waving digital newspapers and, of course, supporting my boundaries and my agency. (love smirking)

and when i turned to face it, COVID-19, i felt ashamed because i’d delayed so long, and because my speculative mind activated instantly, my emergent mind, my apocalypse dreamer self, feeling the familiarity of a moment i’d never lived, but prepared for. ashamed because during any thought of possibility, just north of me, grandparents were dying in hospital hallways.

i don’t believe in justified collateral damage, and while i love the vulcan quote “the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one,” i actually don’t believe it, because i can’t say that many and one are different things…i highly and publicly suspect we are part of one creature, one system. we just don’t know the scale: are we a cell in the earth body? is earth the cell in a universe body? are we all the light beams of a god body?

nor do i think we can argue that any life is less miraculous than others, though we overlook some of the most important ones. twyla tharp says something like ‘destiny is a function of persistent parenting’, and i would add grandparenting, eldering, teaching, community-ing. think about the future inventors, storytellers, organizers, alien’s life partners, who fundamentally needed the encouragement of a certain elder or immune compromised teacher, lost because people didn’t know in time that they’d been weaponized with an efficient killer, couldn’t stay safe.

i offer this because the conversation we are about to have doesn’t presume that the lives of those who survive are more precious, worth more, than the lives of those who don’t survive this, or who suffer greatly in this. they aren’t giving their lives for us – we have to hold the complexity of senseless loss and undeniable possibility.

because this? this is already apocalypse.

Aja: This could be the very apocalypse we’ve been waiting for.

Apocalypse. Rooted in the Greek words “apo,” meaning “un,” and “kaluptein,” meaning “to cover,” apocalypse is generally regarded as something terrifying and negative. A life ending event. But as my Emergent Strategy “Creating New Possibilities” group explored this past summer in the Emergent Strategy Ideation Institute, what if apocalypse was indeed an ending – but to all of the things we actually needed to end in order to sustain life on this planet?

amb: i’ve been saying ‘things are not getting worse, they are getting uncovered’. it’s the age of COVID-19, already bigger than the intimate reach of 9/11, the Titanic, and many man made and natural disasters we’ve defined eras by. we are in history, in an apocalypse moment in history.

Aja: At its etymological core, apocalypse means to uncover – and COVID-19 has uncovered so damn much, hasn’t it?

amb: so much, including for a lot of people just how privileged and/or precarious we have been. those already struggling in this system are often shamed into hiding our financial, physical, mental and emotional challenges. we didn’t know how bad our healthcare system was cause we were good, or we were so overwhelmed by navigating it that we couldn’t look up and notice the patterns.

we didn’t realize how quickly borders can change, and standards for who is allowed to move and who isn’t, especially if our parents were born here. now more of us see that we can all end up on the wrong side, classified as a threat overnight.

and we’ve been too ashamed to show the precarity of our own bank accounts. we didn’t realize how many people in the richest nation in the world are living check to check. people are getting sick because many of us are more terrified of the proximity of losing income than risking our health and that of our families, communities and clients (i was so disappointed to land in the u.s. and, in addition to zero screening or questions about my health anywhere, to see all the airport restaurants open, all those exposed workers with no protection).

it’s a lot to take in. but it’s all about what we do in this unveiling. i’ve been dreaming that we ‘hold each other tight and continue to pull back the veil’. see both the wild wrongness in so many of our current structures, and the wild possibilities if we apply our visioning, organizing, earthling selves to the conversation and pattern seeking.

the first pattern shift i noticed was the dropping emissions as industry in key production areas slows, stops. the organizers i serve have been pushing for corporate emission reduction, and getting “no no no, impossible, maybe ? of that in twice the time, no even if we’ll all be dead it’s more important that 1% of us experience excess right now.”

COVID-19 comes and emissions are down 25%, and that’s just the beginning?

Aja: Everyone deserves a place to live, regardless of their ability to pay. Evicting someone because they cannot afford to pay is inhumane. And yet, capitalist forces have persuaded us that in order for society to function, people must pay or be put out. COVID-19 comes and suddenly, the inhumanity of evictions becomes politically expedient, and more people now know that if they wanted to, the government could absolutely step in and halt evictions.

amb: behavior shift can actually happen very quickly once we collectively decide to do it. relearning en masse how to wash our hands. i was part of a group in the rome airport who learned what one meter felt like, the social distance encouraged everywhere now. it was taught directly, impersonally – “not that, this. too close! good.” boundaries held collectively immediately relaxed my shoulders. it was so much harder landing in france and the u.s. where very few people seemed aware of personal space. i want that mindful level of collective boundary norming and consent for all bodies all the time, against street harassment and racism, for recycling and dogpoopscooping and helping each other.

Aja: Protecting workers makes sense. Making sure workers have adequate paid time off is good for people, good for a thriving workforce and good for our communal health. “We can’t afford that!” the business community lined up to testify. COVID-19 comes and suddenly across the country we are seeing lawmakers and businesses get creative to make sure that people can work from home, and even that hourly workers and folks who can’t telework have ways to have the time off and still recover wages.

amb: i am most fascinated by how much small personal bravery is emerging. my group text threads are full of people sharing the bold initiating moves they’ve been making in their workplaces, with their parents, at their gyms, kids’ schools, with friends.

we are either vectors of doom or safety in this.

it’s also brave when people who ignored or ridiculed the response to COVID-19 for a while finally let themselves be moved by new data and start helping with containment and slowing it down.

and at least in movement spaces it looks like we’re starting to listen to people who have been trying to teach us collective pathways for a while.

it’s also time for organic redistribution – those who have more than enough are going to need to move funds to help artists, freelancers, chronically ill, immigrant, jobless, houseless and other economically vulnerable communities. i am excited by how quickly needs and pivots are being understood and activated, how many people i know who are thinking collectively.

Aja: Making sure people with disabilities can have equitable access to convenings and workplaces makes sense. But our disabled siblings hear time and time again how “teleconferencing technology is so expensive!” and “it’s too hard to figure out—we’ll think about it for next year.” COVID-19 comes, and now more people know that yes, companies and organizations can indeed make spaces accessible, and choose to prioritize cost over cause.

amb: i know there is tragedy here, unfolding, the scale of which we cannot, will never, measure in terms of heartache. but i’m also aware of us moving towards things we have needed to move towards. how do we widen the space within us for the grief and wonder? fear and vision? the surrender, and the creativity, the relief, the humor, the possibility?

this is an opportunity to stop trying to ‘cling to the shore,’ as the hopi elder prophesied. say the shore is our crisis level individualism, and the river is interdependence. we don’t really know what intentional post-capitalist interdependence looks like at our current national, much less global, scale. it’s still time to push off, go forward, into that unknown, holding each other, in pairs, in circles.

now is a time to learn about relinquishing boredom. this is a time for generating life by rooting where we are. and learning intimacy as a survival tool, because we need to be able to communicate our realities, needs and wants – a level of communication that previously often happened only through proximity, pheromones and subtle facial shifts.

the overlay of all of this is deepening connection towards a right relationship to the earth.

i’m also excited to start using the vulcan “live long and prosper” hand greeting in place of hugs or fist bumps.

Aja: As an organizer, this uncovering – this apocalypse – is one I feel like running toward. It pushes us to be sharper, to contemplate organizing our folks through chaos and disorganization, and presents so many opportunities to politicize and contextualize for our folks. The things we fight for are not just right, but POSSIBLE. And I don’t know about y’all, but this election cycle especially had me feeling so depleted. So impossible. So hopeless.

amb: demoralized! dejected! apoplectic! watching us divide, forget what matters and divide.

Aja: And then COVID-19 came, and reminded me that the world we are fighting for is nigh. Now is not the time to pump the brakes or abandon hope. The world we are fighting for is just on the other side of apocalypse.

amb: asé and hallelujah

* Aja Taylor is a community organizer, fiction-loving facilitator of mischief and meetings. She enjoys good food, analyzing birth charts, octopuses and thinking about how sexy consent is. She is also Director of Advocacy and Organizing at Bread for the City and one of the co-founders of Two Brown Girls Consulting Cooperative, both based in DC.

“Dear friends and extended family, it is important to know when a substantial storm is coming, and we are indeed entering into one now.

Do not let people take from you your edge, nor your humanity, both are needed to weather trying times. Both are needed to do it well.

Its clear there is substantial danger, and coming hardship, but our news and leadership, and perhaps our peers, are not showing us how to meet it well.

This is heavy and this is serious. Neither denial nor panic are good compasses.

Denial is not needed to keep the mind and heart light. There are ways of holding heaviness that call our humanity more deeply forward. We do well to learn them. •
Panic is not needed to keep us safe. There are ways of meeting danger, risk, and hardship with deliberateness and purpose. We do well to learn them.

Care for all of parts of yourself: body, mind, heart, and spirit. Care for each other. We are in this together.
Strength.
Purpose.
Humanity.”
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Coronavirus: Wisdom from a Social Justice Lens

We’re bringing you medical information, invocations, grounding practices and dialogue from the March 7, 2020 webinar: COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Preparation for People Living with Chronic Illnesses in the United States.

Unlike much of what we’re seeing in the media and public discussion, the virtual gathering — organized in a week’s time —  centered the wisdom and life experiences of people who live with chronic illnesses and disability.

Listen on Apple Podcasts / Spotify / RadioPublic / Stitcher / Google Podcasts

Read the Transcript

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This is a work in progress.  If anyone knows more DC local resources to help during the Coronavirus pandemic or has feedback on our current resources please email peoplesschooldc@gmail.com.