The spread of the new coronavirus, COVID-19, is causing disruption and stress in communities around the world.
Right here in Franklin County and across Massachusetts, many of us have questions: What can I do to best protect myself, my family, and my community? What if I am running low on groceries or supplies? How do I help my kids to learn while they are home from school? How do I deal with the stress? How does this situation relate to substance use and other health issues? How can I pitch in and help others in need?
You are not alone. A lot of people are also wondering about these things and a lot of local folks want to help.
Below, we have compiled some resources and information for coalition members and all community members. Categories are General COVID-19 Resources; Talking with Children About COVID-19, Stress and Anxiety Resources; Educational Resources for Kids While Schools are Closed – and Beyond!; COVID-19 Resources Related to Substance Use; Help with Food, Fuel Assistance, Unemployment Benefits, Legal Help, and Finances; and Volunteer Opportunities/Ways To Help.
We have also joined with other coalitions in the region to produce a new e-newsletter, Coalition Connections. If getting a weekly email with a handful of news, ideas, and inspiration from us sounds good to you, you can subscribe by filling out the Partnership form here! You can also visit the Coalition Connections newsletter archive page to read it on this website.
Feel free to send a link to this page to people you know, or to link to it from your website. Some of the information here is reposted from other local partners, statewide agencies, and national organizations. This information will be updated as the situation evolves.
General COVID-19 Resources
Feeling unwell? Buoy Health, with support from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, has developed a helpful online tool that you can use to assess your symptoms.
Opioid Task Force’s Extensive List of COVID-19 Resources, including basic info COVID-19, how to talk with kids about it, and virtual resources for people in recovery.
Update: Community Action’s Look4Help website has a special page devoted to COVID-19 resources. Many of the resources are local, so they are especially useful for Western Massachusetts residents.
Massachusetts Senator Jo Comerford’s office created a comprehensive COVID-19 resource page for constituents (including Franklin County). It includes resources for small businesses, info on taxes and health insurance, multilingual COVID-19 resources, and more.
3 Steps Not to Lose Your Cool With COVID-19 from the Full Frame Initiative (FFI), a national organization with an office right here in Greenfield!
FFI’s March 2020 newsletter covers more ground and also introduces readers to their focus on wellbeing (you can download a PDF about what this means to Full Frame Initiative). FFI’s work is very much in line with values that we talk about often at 4SC and the Partnership.
WMA Community Mutual Aid is an awesome network for people who need almost any kind of help relate to COVID-19. Check out their Google Doc for info about how it works! These (now over 850 people) can’t wait to help one another and you and me. Anyone can join.
The Greenfield Public Library’s Teen Space Facebook Page has a bunch of resources for teens, parents/guardians, and other adults and is a way to stay connected right now and always! Find out about new books and more.
Want to learn how to set up and participate in virtual meetings? Zoom’s free, online tutorials offer both pre-recorded tutorials and live webinars.
The National Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health has created a bunch of COVID-19 resources. They offer Pinterest Boards on the following topics (and more!):
Distance Learning Family Activities Family Life All About Me Technology and App Recommendations Family Conversation Starters Children’s Mental Health Activities Coronavirus Resources Mindfulness
They also have Tips and information for parents about talking to their children about the coronavirus and more resources on their expanded Facebook Page
Talking with Children about COVID-19
Talking with children about Coronavirus Disease 2019: Messages for parents, school staff, and others working with children – Tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for adults to help children make sense of what they hear in a way that is honest, accurate, and minimizes anxiety or fear.
Talking to Children About COVID-19 (Coronavirus): A Parent Resource. This page from the National Association of School Psychologists has tips for conversations and also includes recommendations for how to monitor kids’ technology use during the outbreak.
Talking With Children: Tips for Caregivers, Parents, and Teachers During Infectious Disease Outbreaks “This fact sheet provides parents, caregivers, and teachers with strategies for helping children manage their stress during an infectious disease outbreak. It describes potential reactions among youth and the support adults can provide to help them.”
Spanish/Espagnol Activity book for kids on understanding and preventing corona virus – written in a kid-friendly manner with pictures and activities for learning.
Stress and Anxiety Resources
Mental Health & Coping During COVID 19 – Guidance and tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
5 Ways to Help Teens Manage Anxiety About the Coronavirus: Adults can help by making sure adolescents don’t overestimate the dangers or underestimate their ability to protect themselves. This New York Times Article by Lisa Damour has 5 tips for adults to help teens. (Some New York Times articles are available only with a subscription, so check out some of the other, similar resources here if you can’t access it.)
Caring for Your Mental Health During Coronavirus – Article with practical tips and validation of our feelings from McLean, an affiliate of Harvard University that specializes in trauma and mental health treatment.
Taking Care of Your Mental Health During Uncertainty – Article from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention with mental health-focused tips that are useful for anyone, not only someone thinking about suicide.
Disaster Distress Helpline The Disaster Distress Helpline is a 24/7, 365-day-a-year, national hotline dedicated to providing immediate crisis counseling for people who are experiencing emotional distress related to any natural or human-caused disaster. This toll-free, multilingual, and confidential crisis support service is available to all U.S. residents. Stress, anxiety, and other depression-like symptoms are common reactions after a disaster. Call 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746 to connect with a trained crisis counselor.
Educational Resources for Kids While Schools are Closed – and Beyond!
Student & Family Resources for Learning from the Greenfield Public Schools – great resources for learning at home that will be updated by local educators and administrators in Greenfield.
Digital Resources for Middle and High School online learning
This comprehensive resource for young people, teachers, parents, and guardians is a place where people can find free online learning resources during the COVID-19 school closures.
From the creator: “This spreadsheet is designed to support middle and high schoolers who are trying to keep learning during these tough times. I hope you find inspiration and joy in the pages you find here, whether you want to learn ethnomusicology or how to make a costume. Whether you want to get a good score on the SAT or solve a quadratic equation. Whether you want to stage an online performance or choreograph a hip hop dance, or try to register people to vote.”
What to do with your kids when schools are canceled: A mom who homeschools shares her secrets for getting through weeks at home with your children. This Vox article by Alexandra Stockwell has tips and tricks (including scheduling ideas) from a mom who has lots of experience educating her kids at home.
Coronavirus Help: Free educational resources for kids stuck at home during COVID-19 WABC, a New York station, created this list of helpful educational resources – they are categorized by age, from preschool and generally note whether the resources are free!
Sesame Workshop Launches Resource Site for Stuck-at-Home Kids (and Bored Adults) – This article by Rebecca Alter on Vulture.com has links to resources by the Sesame Workshop, creators of Sesame Street.
COVID-19 Resources Related to Substance Use
A message and resources from the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids and the Center for Addiction: “In this uncertain time, we know that you may be concerned about keeping your families and your communities safe and healthy. We are dedicated to ensuring you have the support you need to address substance use and addiction — from prevention to recovery.
Our free and confidential helpline services continue to be open and available. Specialists are ready to help if you are having difficulty in accessing support for your family. If your loved one struggling with addiction faces care or treatment challenges resulting from COVID-19 circumstances, we are here to guide you.
You can connect to us in the following ways, with support available in English and Spanish. We’re available from 9:00am-midnight ET weekdays and noon-5:00pm ET on weekends.
Text a Message to 55753
Send an Email
The Western Mass Recovery Learning Community (RLC) has a list of virtual and phone resources on their website.
The Harm Reduction Coalition has posted COVID-19 guidance and harm reduction tips. These are especially designed for people who use drugs and people who care about them.
The Opioid Task Force Resource List, also listed at the top also has lots of info for people in recovery.
Help with Food, Fuel Assistance, Unemployment Benefits, Legal Help, and Finances
Franklin County Food Access Resources – COVID-19 Edition
Free Meals for Kids during COVID-19 School Closures
Apply for Rent Payment Assistance
Apply for Fuel Assistance
Apply for Unemployment Assistance
Apply for a bartenders relief fund grant from the USBG Foundation
Small business/nonprofit loans now available in Massachusetts, as a first step. Governor Baker has announced a $10 million Small Business Recovery Loan Fund to provide emergency capital up to $75,000 to Massachusetts-based businesses impacted by COVID-19 with under 50 full and part-time employees, including nonprofits. Loans are immediately available to eligible businesses with no payments due for the first 6 months. How to Apply: Please complete the application found on MGCC’s website, EmpoweringSmallBusiness.org. Completed applications can be sent via email email@example.com with the subject line “2020 Small Business Recovery Loan Fund”. MGCC can be reached by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Legal Help Resources from Attorney General Maura Healey:
Information about sick time laws: 617-727-3465
Help with insurance claims or medical bills: 888-830-6277
Report price gouging or defective products: 617-727-8400
If you’re having difficulty negotiating a travel refund or are concerned about a potential scam, consider filing a complaint: www.mass.gov/how-to/file-a-consumer-complaint
Volunteer Opportunities/Ways To Help
URGENT NEED FOR SUPPLIES: Baystate Franklin Medical Center has a critical need for gloves, gowns, masks, face shields/goggles, and N95 respirators and hopes our community can donate them to address COVID-19 in our rural region.
Help support our amazing healthcare workers during this time! If you can donate any of the above, please call these Baystate Health team members:
Mary Persaud: 413-695-0944
Bill Kern: 413-262-2904
Kelly Salls: 413-530-2419
Sofia Nadolski: 860-617-0296
WMA Community Mutual Aid, also listed above, is an awesome network for people who need almost any kind of help relate to COVID-19. Check out their Google Doc for info about how it works! These (now over 850 people) can’t wait to help one another and you and me. Sign up to be a helper or to ask for help.
The United Way of Hampshire County’s webpage on COVID-19 volunteer opportunities includes a bunch of Western Mass community organizations, including several with offices and opportunities in Franklin County.
COVID-19 Response Fund for the Pioneer Valley: Hosted by the Community Foundation of Western Mass, this fund will provide flexible resources to organizations that are working with communities at the intersection of being most vulnerable to the virus and most impacted by inequity.
It’s also a great time to check in on neighbors (while maintaining distance) and call or text people you know who might be more vulnerable, either physically or emotionally. Offering to pick up some groceries, talk on the phone, go on a walk together a few feet apart, or something else that you think might help can go a long way!