Congregation Resources

CONGREGATION CONNECTIONS RESOURCES

Updated March 27, 2020

 Congregation Connections links social services and faith groups, working to strengthen communities throughout Kent County by supporting ministry and outreach teams. We collaborate with over 200 congregations across 17 denominations, offering training and casework services. To learn more visit our website. 

 

United Way 211: if anyone is need of services call 211 first. They are a central hub, tracking what programs and organizations have available during this time. You can also visit the United Way’s webpage for more information on COVID-19 updates, including how to get help and how to give help. You can view 211 flyers here: version 1 and version 2


The Essential Needs Task Force of Kent County
 has been tracking needs and program updates across the county. We recommend subscribing to these updates that are filled with helpful information and local resources. You can subscribe to their email updates here


Access Food Pantry Network
:
 Visit our Pantry Network page and click “Pantry Network COVID-19 Updates” for up to date information on modified services that Pantry Resource Centers in Kent County are offering. 
 
Grab and Go Meal Sites at Local Schools: for a full list of Kent County meal sites see the United Way’s list. For a fuller list of West Michigan locations see this article and scroll down to the “West Michigan” portion.
 
Kids Food Basket/Community Sites Meal Locations: Carryout Grab and Go Meal Sacks are available to those 18 and younger, offered at the following locations in GR from 11:30am to 1:30pm.
  • Miss Tracey’s Market (1043 Franklin St SE)
  • Madison Square Church (1441 Madison Ave SE)
  • La Casa de la Cobija (2355 Division Ave. S.)
  • New City Kids (960 Alpine Ave NW)
  • David D. Hunting YMCA (475 Lake Michigan Dr.)
  • Crossroads Alternative HS Kentwood (28 60th St. SE).
  • Flyers are available in English and Spanish.

GRCC students
 can pick up bags of groceries on campus by the brick paved portion the Juan R. Olivarez Student Plaza. The food pantry on campus is still available. Visit grcc.edu/gethelp for additional food resources. Drive-by pick-ups will occur on the following days:

Tuesday, March 24th from 4 to 6:30 p.m, Wednesday, April 1st from noon to 2 p.m, Monday, April 6th from 10 a.m. to noon.

 

Delivered Food BasketsOperation Fred  The Peter Meijer for Congress campaign is shifting energy from political activities to serving others by delivering care packages to individuals who are most vulnerable to COVID-19 (and cannot leave their homes) in Western Michigan. Packages will include canned goods, dry goods and hygiene products. **As of March 27 this program is at capacity, they will open up new orders when they have the capacity to do so.**

 

Stores have dedicated shopping hours:

  • SpartanNash: 7:00am-9:00am, Tuesdays & Thursdays, older adults, pregnant women and immunocompromised people.
  • Meijer stores and Bridge Street Market: 7:00am-8:00am, Mondays & Wednesdays: Essential Service Workers & Meijer Employees. 7:00-8:00am, Tuesdays & Thursdays: Senior Citizens + Guests with health conditions
  • Aldi: 8:30-9:30am on Tuesdays and Thursday mornings will be reserved for vulnerable shoppers- including senior citizens, expectant mothers, and those with underlying health concerns.
Utility Updates
  • From Consumer’s Energy: We are ensuring our most vulnerable customers have the services they need during this state of emergency by suspending shutoffs for non-pay for low-income and senior customers beginning March 16, 2020 through April 30, 2020 (timeframes could be adjusted depending on the spread and severity of the virus). Senior citizens and qualified low-income customers already enrolled in our Winter Protection Program have already had their end dates extended through May 3, 2020, without any additional actions required on their part. We encourage all customers who need help paying their energy bill to call us at 1-800-477-5050 to discuss their options. 
  •  From DTE: In the face of this public health crisis, we are on high alert to help those customers whose lives are being disrupted. We have suspended non-payment shutoffs for customers meeting income criteria, effective until April 30, 2020. This timing could be extended depending on the impact the virus has on our communities. Shutoff protection for customers enrolled in our Senior Winter Protection Program has been extended through May 3, 2020 without additional actions required on their part. Customers of record who are 62 and older are automatically included in the Winter Protection Program. Understanding this is an extraordinary time, our customer representatives are available to help. Contact us at 1-800-477-4747.  


Evictions suspended statewide through April 17:
 Governor Whitmer signed an Executive Order that temporarily suspends evictions through the State of Michigan through April 17, 2020. You can read more about it here


Beginning, 3/24 The Rapid will implement a reduced service schedule
 effective seven days a week. Service will run seven days per week from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Only the routes listed below will be in operation. View the press release for more information.

  • The Silver Line will be running on 30-minute service
  • The following routes will be running on 60-minute (hourly) service: Routes 1, 2, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 13, 15, 16, 28
  • Route 50 will operate on 50-minute service
  • Route 85 will operate on 25-minute service
  • DASH West on 15-minute service from 6:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on weekdays only
  • DASH North will run on 20 minute service from 6:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on weekdays only

Be aware of scams
:
 There are reports of scams related to COVID-19 taking place across the state. Scams including asking for medicaid/medicare informationonline scams selling bogus products and providing false information on tests and treatments, and a door to door scam where people are posing as the Red Cross offering testing. We have also heard of scams related to stimulus checks, with people falsely requesting banking or Paypal information. Click the links to learn more about those scams and how to report, and be mindful overall and share with those vulnerable in your community.
 
Small Business Assistance: Michigan will be offering assistance via loans and grants in the coming days. Visit https://www.michiganbusiness.org/covid19/ to learn more and stay updated (more details are forthcoming).
 
Unemployment Benefits Expanded: The State Unemployment Office will extend benefits to workers who are sick, quarantined or taking care of family members who are ill. First responders in the public health community who became ill or quarantined due to exposure are also eligible. Self-employed workers and independent contractors who don’t have access to unemployment insurance will now have access to benefits. Click here to fill out the application online or call 1-866-500-0017.
 
MDHHS Resources:
  • Job Aids and Videos for Clients and Community Partners: You (and your clients) can find helpful job aids and how-to videos on our MI Bridges Community Partners Tools & Resources page. They include registering a new client account, applying for benefits, managing my case, and helping to find resources.
  • Nonprofit Resources for Remote Work During the COVID-19 Outbreak: Here is some helpful information regarding working remotely. https://bit.ly/2QoArd5 
Women’s Resource Center is open to helping anyone who need support as they look for work and try to connect with services. They are doing coaching, resume and interview prep over the phone or Zoom calls to keep people moving forward. Community members should call their offices (616) 458-5443 and leave a message.
 
Internet Access: Comcast and Charter Communications are offering free internet access to low-income families. Internet and cable will not be suspended. Click here for guidelines.
 
Church Livestream/Going Online Assistance from Ada Bible: From Ada Bible: “If you are a local church wanting to get your church online, we have multiple livestream capable spaces that you can use or we’d love to answer any questions you may have about getting your own space equipped for livestream. Just let us know! Email Jeff at jabbot@adabible.org and please share so we can get the word out to local churches around West Michigan.” Click here for a video explaining what they are offering.
 
CDC Resources for Community and Faith-Based Leaders: Check out the CDC’s detailed website offering guidance and resources for community and faith based leaders. For overall information from the CDC, visit here.
 
State/Local COVID-19 Updates: for additional reliable information on the spread of COVID-19 we recommend following:
 
If you have additional resources that we should be aware of, email niki@accessofwestmichigan.org to let us know.