Photo Credit: Beth Moore
Volunteers and staff are preparing 5,000 meals a day for Clarke County School District students while school buildings are closed.
Athens, like many parts of the country, is beginning to look like a ghost town. As disconcerting as this may sound, it’s an encouraging sign: It shows that people are taking seriously the global effort to stop the transmission of COVID-19 through self-quarantining and social distancing. Such measures are necessary, and they facilitate the physical safety of many Athens residents. However, they also come with a host of economic, logistical and psychological concerns.
Athens is animated by small businesses and the workers who keep them running. But many workers—particularly those in the service industry, whose livelihood depends on a regular flow of tips—are facing severe financial strain because of the epidemic, which continues to restrict the operations of innumerable Athens restaurants, cafés, and bars. Compounding these financial problems are another set of issues, issues that even employees who are receiving paid leave, have a savings cushion, or are able to work remotely may grapple with: cabin fever, social isolation and feelings of impotence or aimlessness.
Such problems are not yet soluble, but they can be mitigated. Flagpole thus presents a list of financial, medical and other resources for staying healthy, sane and moralized in the midst of these chaotic times. These resources range from monetary aid for struggling restaurant workers to locally produced yoga podcasts to healthcare information. Moreover, for those with the time and resources to spare, we also present a number of local volunteer and donation opportunities.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): Info on symptoms of COVID-19 and preventative measures.
New York Times: Free access to coronavirus news.
Live updates on the number of confirmed cases around the world.
United Way 211: A 24/7 service that connects people to various financial, health, and educational resources by dialing 211.
Public Health Hotline: 1-866-PUB-HLTH (1-866-782-4584). Dial the number, press 3 for the COVID-19 extension, then press 1 for information and answers to common questions.
National Disaster Distress Helpline: National crisis counseling for people experiencing emotional distress related to natural or human-caused disasters. Call 1-800-985-5990 or text “TalkWithUs” to 66746
GEORGIA AND ATHENS RESOURCES
Georgia Department of Public Health COVID-19 Daily Status Report: Daily updates on the virus. Updated at noon and 7 p.m. every day.
UGA: COVID-19 Response and Updates: Updates on UGA's response to the virus.
Athens Clarke-County Unified Government: COVID-19 Response: Live updates on the virus in Athens-Clarke County. Recommendations for preventative measures and what to do if you get sick.
Información y Recursos sobre la Enfermedad de Virus Corona 2019 (COVID-19): Spanish-language updates for Athens-Clarke County.
Subscribe to Athens Clarke-County COVID-19 Updates by email or text.
List of Human Services agencies provided by UGA
Georgia Crisis and Access Line: Call 1-800-715-4225. Free 24/7 helpline providing mental health crisis assistance and access to mental health resources in Georgia.
Crisis Text Line: Anyone in Georgia experiencing an emotional crisis can text GA to 741741 to communicate with a trained Crisis Counselor. Children and Teens are particularly welcome. The service is free, confidential and available 24/7.
Shifa Free Clinic is pre-screening people who may have COVID-19 symptoms. Call 706-431-7334 between 9 a.m.–5 p.m. A Spanish hotline at 706-407-1864 will be available starting Saturday, Mar. 29. For other health care needs, call 706-850-4588 to schedule an appointment. In addition, the clinic is giving away 200 backpacks filled with toiletries. Pick up between 10 a.m. and noon at 435 Hawthorne Ave.
Georgia Department of Labor: Unemployment and Reemployment Services: GDOL has temporarily suspended in-person meeting requirements for people applying for unemployment, as well as a requirement to seek work while on unemployment.
Bartender Emergency Assistance Program (USBG National Charity Foundation).
Athens Ark Emergency Financial Assistance: Emergency financial aid to individuals and families who have had a loss of income.
The Giving Kitchen: Currently providing financial assistance to service industry workers (and also accepting donations).
COVID-19 & Freelance Artists: Financial, logistical, health and educational resources for local freelance artists.
Musicians’ resource center Nuçi’s Space has set up the Garrie Vereen Memorial Emergency Relief Fund to assist music industry workers, including musicians, artists, crew, venue and bar employees, and "everyone who makes our world-renowned entertainment industry thrive."
Athens Area Emergency Food Bank: Available to all who are facing financial difficulties at this time.
Food Bank of Northeast Georgia: Available to all who are facing financial difficulties at this time. Also runs the Food2Kids Program, which provides meals to children.
Clarke County School District free breakfast and lunch for students: Students and parents can pick up free breakfast and lunch. Times and locations included in the link.
CCSD is also keeping a list of other food distribution points, which change weekly.
Athens Community Council on Aging: Meals on Wheels: Provides meals and other resources to older adults and those with disabilities. Contact Paige Powell at 706-549-4850 or click the link.
Our Daily Bread: Our Daily Bread has suspended breakfast distribution for the outbreak but will provide lunch every day at noon at First Baptist Church of Athens: 355 Pulaski St, Athens, GA 30601.
UTILITIES AND INTERNET ACCESS
Georgia Power: As of Mar. 14, Georgia Power won’t turn off utilities due to late fees for 30 days.
Athens Clarke-County Public Utilities Water: As of Mar. 14, ACC Public Utilities will not terminate water service for customers with past due bills for the next 60 days. As of March 14, residents who have been disconnected for late fees or non-payment should have had service restored.
Network Carriers: AT&T, Charter, CenturyLink, Comcast, Cox, Sonic, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon pledge to waive late fees incurred due to economic effects of the virus, to open access to public WiFi hotspots, and to postpone service termination for residential and small business customers.
Internet Essentials Program: For new low-income customers, Comcast is providing two months of complimentary internet. Call 1-855-846-8376.
Spectrum/Charter Internet Assistance: Spectrum is setting up WiFi hotspots across the country and giving 60 days free broadband without installation fees to families with students. Enroll by calling 1-844-488-8395.
DONATION AND VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES
Clarke County School District Meal Distribution: Volunteer to distribute meals while CCSD schools are closed.
Food2Kids Program: More information on how to help the Food2Kids program. Volunteering is conducted through UGA.
Athens Community Council on Aging: Volunteers deliver food and other resources to older adults and those who are disabled. Donations are also needed—especially hand sanitizer. Contact Ellen Everitt at 706-549-4850 or click the link.
Our Daily Bread: Volunteer to assemble lunches or donate funds. Checks can be made out to Downtown Ministries and indicated for Our Daily Bread. Email Lara Smothers at email@example.com or click the link.
Athens Area Homeless Shelter: To volunteer or donate food and cleaning supplies, click on the link.
Campus Kitchen at UGA: To donate, click on the link.
Free Subscriptions for Educational Resources: List of companies offering free subscriptions to educational opportunities.
Unlimited Zoom Video Calls: Zoom is releasing restrictions on video chatting for K-12 teachers.
Clarke County School District Research Projects: Reliable resources for CCSD students working on research projects. The database password is “malt.”
MORE ONLINE ACTIVITIES
LIVE Fitness for Kids: Fitness activities for kids; accessible from home every day from 10:30-11:15am.
Brownstone Yoga: Free yoga podcast run by Meg Brownstone, a yoga instructor at Rubber Soul Yoga in Athens.
Met Opera Streaming: Free streaming of the Metropolitan Opera. One performance is streamed a week.
Junior Ranger Program: Over 300 books about America’s National Parks available for free in PDF format).