The Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE) announced on Friday, March 13 that “the USDA has approved our waiver to allow students to continue receiving meals while schools are closed due to #COVID19”. This news will help some of Easton’s most vulnerable residents in the coming weeks, and the CSDE is working around the clock to ready the program for implementation.
Schools and other closures have brought some challenges during these uncertain times, and many citizens in Easton have been wondering how they can help families, seniors, and businesses affected by this pandemic while still practicing social distancing.
Social distancing, the act of staying at least 6 feet away from non-family members, is a crucial step in slowing the spread of the Coronavirus (the virus that causes COVID-19). If done throughout communities, it can save lives, and it may also make seeking help (for those in need) more challenging. Easton residents decided to take swift action, and Gale Papageorge, Devon Wible, and Sarah Lehberger worked in coordination with efforts led by Easton’s first selectman, police chief, and Senior Center director to bring our community and resources together in order to provide crucial resources and support to those in need.
Here are 10 resources that are available to help care for yourself, your loved ones, and our community during these uncertain times:
1. There is a box of non-perishable food items and supplies in the lobby of the Easton Police Department, located at 700 Morehouse Road. Give what you can and take what you need.
2. For those who need food and other critical items delivered to their homes, such as prescription pickups from your pharmacy, or want someone to call them a couple times a week to check-in, please sign up using this form and a volunteer can help to deliver to your address.
3. Alison Witherbee is the Municipal Agent on Aging (MAA) for Easton, and she helps seniors and their families deal with concerns of the elderly. Medical equipment and transportation is available, as well as food from the Easton Senior Center pantry, fuel assistance, and all other monetary needs. Alison can be reached at (203) 268-1137since the center is currently closed.
4. If you didn’t receive an emergency alert to your home or mobile phone this week (ex: “This is David Bindelglass, First Selectman of Easton. We have made a concerted effort to keep the public informed regarding our response to the Coronavirus or COVID-19”…), then it means you aren’t registered for any of Easton’s emergency alerts (or reverse 9-1-1 messages). Residents can go to: https://www.ct.gov/ctalert/site/default.asp and choose an option to register by phone or text, and can update their account or location if they’ve recently moved.
5. To stay up to date on important town news and emerging COVID-19 updates, sign up to receive Easton’s email alerts via our town website and click “subscribe to news” at the bottom of the page in the green bar.
6. Yale New Haven Health is offering a call center for residents who have questions about COVID-19. Healthcare professionals are available to answer your specific questions Monday through Friday from 7am – 7pm. Call (833) ASK-YNHH or (833) 275-9644 for additional information.
7. If residents need assistance paying housing bills, accessing free childcare, or other essential services, they can dial 2-1-1 to speak with a representative who can help. Representatives are on hand to offer assistance to those who are in need as a result of lost wages from event cancellations, business closures, and quarantines.
8. Join our local Buy Nothing Project Facebook Group to give, receive, lend, share, and show gratitude for hyper-local items in our community. Members often leave items on their front porch or in their mailbox for pickup, so no “person-to-person” contact is needed.
9. If you are able to support our local businesses, they’d appreciate your online or call-in orders. Restaurants like Greisers and Easton Village Store are offering curbside pickup, and gift cards can help to save many of these establishments even if you cannot spend time dining inside for some time.
10. If you or someone you know is experiencing bias in the form of harassment, abuse, or violence as the spread of the virus continues, there are business grants and local resources for individuals and families that are ready to assist you immediately.
Together, we can all do our part to help our neighbors, care for our community, and protect our families or loved ones while maintaining a safe distance.