Wow! A lot has changed and continues to change as we all learn to navigate the current landscape. Community Hunger Solutions continues to deliver to pantries that want food resources. CHS also continues to operate without volunteer help. Fortunately, the variety of food this time of year is smaller than during summer and fall so we're able to keep up with demand without the extra help.
The CDC has recommended that people going out and about their necessary activities wear masks if they are likely to not be able to maintain social distancing. So far, I've been able to maintain social distancing in all my deliveries as well as continuing to allow deliveries to "detox" after assembling orders and only touching them on delivery day while wearing gloves and mask.
As of April 10th, Couleecap has expanded its Emergency Financial Assistance Program to include Monroe and Crawford Counties. Individuals throughout Couleecap's service area (La Crosse, Vernon, Crawford and Monroe Counties) can apply for emergency financial assistance for personal expenses at the following link: https://www.couleecap.org/covid-19-assistance.html
Additionally, the most recent information from the Department of Workforce Development states
If you are unemployed and you've worked for a covered employer (an employer who pays UI tax) in the last 18 months - please apply for unemployment insurance now at https://dwd.wisconsin.gov/uiben/apply.
If you are filing because of the CARES Act (a.k.a. Federal Stimulus Bill) - e.g. self-employed, independent contractors, workers with limited work history, and others - we are asking you to wait to file* because our system is not yet set up to accept your application. There is no need to call the Unemployment Help Center at this time. Wisconsin plans to start taking applications the week of April 21, 2020. We will have the most up-to-date information at https://dwd.wisconsin.gov/uiben/caresact. *It is important to note that benefits will start from the time you became eligible for unemployment, not from the time your application is submitted or approved. This is also true of the additional $600 per week.
Gov. Evers also issued a statewide ban on evictions and foreclosures for 60 days beginning March 27th. If you are unable to make rent or mortgage payments because of the delay in unemployment processing, know that your bank or landlord may not evict you. You will be responsible for back payments of rent. Find a simple break down here. If you are unable to pay other bills, try to contact the debtor directly. Many are making exceptions and waiving late fees during the shutdown. You can apply for energy assistance here.
It was just announced yesterday that Wisconsin schools will remain closed for the remainder of the school year. Most districts continue to offer meals to students via delivery and will continue this for the remainder of the school year.
Finally, if you or someone you know is in need of food assistance, you can view our list of area pantries on our website at https://www.community-hunger-solutions.org/hunger-relief. Please contact the pantry if possible before visiting to get updated hours of operation and procedural information.
Please, stay healthy and safe.