Coronavirus Information

Food Assistance

Families with children who received free, reduced-cost lunches at school qualify for new program: https://www.michigan.gov/coronavirus/0,9753,7-406-98158-525248--,00.html. Eligible families not currently receiving food assistance benefits will receive in the mail a pre-loaded Electronic Benefits Transaction (EBT) card – known as a Bridge Card – issued under the name of the oldest student in the household. The amount of EBT benefits will be no less than the total amount of free or reduced-cost school lunch benefits that the family would have received during the time that school is closed. The benefits will include $193.80 per eligible student to cover the months of March and April and an additional $182.40 per student to cover May and June combined. Added 4/16/20.

Seniors can get meals safely in Michigan during COVID-19 outbreak: https://www.michigan.gov/coronavirus/0,9753,7-406-98158-524295--,00.html Michigan recently received additional federal dollars to help provide meals to older adults. These programs — available to Michigan residents over age 60 — provide meals through home delivery and pick up services during the current pandemic. Seniors can also sign up to receive a daily check in call from a volunteer who can make sure you are doing ok and spend some time catching up, sharing news and important updates with you.

Additional food assistance for 350,000 Michigan families approved in response to COVID-19 emergency; SNAP work requirements also temporarily waived: https://www.michigan.gov/coronavirus/0,9753,7-406-98163-523398--,00.html 55% of families receiving SNAP payments will now receive more, and the work requirement has been dropped.

Unemployment

Michigan unemployment questions answered: https://www.mlive.com/public-interest/2020/04/michigan-unemployment-questions-answered-when-to-expect-it-if-its-taxable-and-more.html This article from MLive addresses timing, additional benefits authorized by the CARES act including benefits for self-employed, contractors and gig workers, benefits for people whose hours have been cut but not eliminated, the $600 additional per month, and more. Added 4/10/20.

Benefits Extended to Self-Employed, Low-Wage, and Other Workers Affected by COVID-19: https://www.michigan.gov/coronavirus/0,9753,7-406-98158-523450--,00.html Under the CARES Act, individuals who are not already eligible for Michigan’s unemployment programs will now be provided a set amount of $600 a week for up to four months on top of the state benefit. Benefits are available for up to 39 weeks. These newly eligible individuals include self-employed workers, independent contractors, low-wage workers and those with a limited work history. (Plus info about the additional $600 payment to those traditionally eligible for unemployment, new filing schedules, etc.)

Governor Whitmer Expands Unemployment Benefits for Michigan Workers: https://www.michigan.gov/coronavirus/0,9753,7-406-98158-521770--,00.html Expansion of who is eligible (including those who have to be home to care for others), length of benefits extended, extension of time to file from 14 to 28 days, etc. Says Governor Whitmer is "seeking solutions for self-employed workers and independent contractors who traditionally do not have access to unemployment insurance." — the extension of unemployment to these workers is mandated by the Federal CARES Act of March 27th.

How to apply for unemployment benefits in Michigan amid coronavirus crisis: https://www.bridgemi.com/economy/how-apply-unemployment-benefits-michigan-amid-coronavirus-crisis. Up-to-date information on unemployment.

UIA Offers Update on Unemployment System: https://www.michigan.gov/coronavirus/0,9753,7-406-98158-522916--,00.html

New unemployment filing schedule to help Michiganders apply for benefits: https://www.michigan.gov/coronavirus/0,9753,7-406-98163-523365--,00.html Schedule of when to apply depending on last name.

Housing, Utilities, and Stimulus Payments

State Leaders Work to Ensure Water is Restored to Michigan Residents During the COVID-19 Emergencyhttps://www.michigan.gov/coronavirus/0,9753,7-406-98158-528583--,00.html. Today, Michigan leaders encouraged those without residential water service due to nonpayment to reach out to local water departments for reconnection. All occupied homes without water are entitled to have service reconnected by local water departments based on Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s Executive Order 2020-28. Added 5/13/20.

Leaders Urge Michiganders Struggling Financially to be Proactive, Seek Help with Utility Bills as State, Energy Providers Offer Assistance: https://www.michigan.gov/coronavirus/0,9753,7-406-98158-527588--,00.html. Site details protections and assistance for people who cannot pay their utility bills during the pandemic. Added 5/3/20.

MDHHS: Federal stimulus payments will not affect public assistance benefits: https://www.michigan.gov/coronavirus/0,9753,7-406-98158-525978--,00.html. LANSING, MICH. Income from federal stimulus payments will not affect eligibility for public assistance benefits such as food assistance, according to the Michigan Department of Human Services (MDHHS). Stimulus checks also will not reduce the amount of public assistance benefits that anyone receives.Added 4/16/20.

MPSC Outlines Steps to Ensure Utility Protections, Assistance for Vulnerable Households Amid COVID-19 Pandemic: https://www.michigan.gov/coronavirus/0,9753,7-406-98163-525931--,00.html. The Michigan Public Service Commission today called on energy providers to undertake a number of steps to ensure customers have access to safe, reliable energy at reasonable rates during the coronavirus emergency. The Commission also acknowledged the response by telecommunications providers to improve network access and protect customers during this crisis.Added 4/16/20. More information: https://www.environmentalcouncil.org/mec_applauds_action_to_ensure_gas_electric_service?utm_campaign=041820_mer&utm_medium=email&utm_source=environmentalcouncil. Added 4/19/20.

If you don't usually file a tax return, submit your information here to get the Economic Impact Payment https://www.freefilefillableforms.com/#/fd/EconomicImpactPayment If the IRS has your direct deposit information because you receive social security benefits, or because you filed a tax return for 2018 or 2019, you do not need to do anything and the IRS says you should receive the stimulus benefit in your bank account before Friday, April 17. Others should complete this free online form so that the IRS can identify you and your dependents, and receive valid direct deposit and address information about you. This information allows the IRS to calculate your eligibility and send you the Economic Impact Payment. This benefit is restricted to U.S. Citizens or Permanent Residents. There is an extensive list of frequently asked questions at https://www.freefilefillableforms.com/#/fd/eip.faqs. Added 4/10/20.

What Families & Individuals Should Know About The Coronavirus Stimulus Bill: https://upton.house.gov/uploadedfiles/familiesindividuals_coronavirus1pager.pdf A one-page fact sheet put together by Fred Upton's office, with detail about newly expanded unemployment benefits. Also has some detail about the $1,200 per person (plus $500 per child) to be distributed in the next two to three weeks to people who filed income taxes for 2018 or 2019 (it's unclear how to access this stimulus if you did not file in 2018 or 2019).

Governor Whitmer Signs Executive Order Temporarily Suspending Evictions: https://www.michigan.gov/coronavirus/0,9753,7-406-98158-522510--,00.html.

General

Frequently Asked COVID-19 Questions: https://www.michigan.gov/coronavirus/0,9753,7-406-98810---,00.html: Answers to 744 questions (as of 5/3/20) on all aspects of the pandemic. Added 5/3/20.

COVID-19 Test Finder: https://www.michigan.gov/coronavirus/0,9753,7-406-98189---,00.html. Please note: Testing criteria for Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) has been expanded in Michigan to include individuals with mild symptoms and essential workers still reporting to work in person, whether they have symptoms or not. This site provides a tool to find your nearest test center. Added 5/3/20.

Michiganders can now text "RESTORE" to Crisis Text Line to get mental health support: https://www.michigan.gov/coronavirus/0,9753,7-406-98158-527860--,00.html. Getting crisis mental health support is now as simple as sending a text. By texting the keyword RESTORE to 741741, Michigan residents can have a confidential text conversation with a crisis counselor. The service is available 24/7. Added 5/3/20.

Michigan's Health Insurers Agree to Provide Coronavirus Treatment at No Cost to Patients: https://www.michigan.gov/coronavirus/0,9753,7-406-98158-525311--,00.html. The Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services (DIFS) announced that the state has received agreements from nearly all of the state’s health insurance companies to waive cost-sharing, including copays, deductibles, and coinsurance for coronavirus (COVID-19) testing and treatments. The Whitmer Administration and DIFS had worked with insurers to waive these costs. Added 4/16/20.

MDHHS Announces Peer-run Warmline to Aid Persons with Mental Health Needs During COVID-19 Pandemic: https://www.michigan.gov/coronavirus/0,9753,7-406-98158-525635--,00.html. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) is launching a statewide warmline for Michiganders living with persistent mental health conditions. The warmline will connect individuals with certified peer support specialists who have lived experiences of behavioral health issues, trauma or personal crises, and are trained to support and empower the callers.Added 4/16/20.

COVID-19 RESOURCE GUIDE FOR SOUTHWEST MICHIGAN: https://upton.house.gov/uploadedfiles/uptoncoronavirusresourceguide_updateapril7.pdf From the office of Fred Upton.Added 4/14/20.

MDHHS closes lobbies except for appointments; suspends rules requiring office visits: https://www.michigan.gov/coronavirus/0,9753,7-406-98158-522020--,00.html

Michigan families can get food, cash, internet during coronavirus crisis: https://www.bridgemi.com/michigan-health-watch/michigan-families-can-get-food-cash-internet-during-coronavirus-crisis Miscellaneous information, not comprehensive but perhaps useful.

Fundraising Events

Soup Suppers

Soup Suppers are held at Holy Family Catholic Church, 500 W. St. Marys Street in Decatur. The cost is $5 per person for all you can eat, and children 10 and under eat free! The dining room opens at 4:00 and remains open until 5:30.


Please note that in view of the Coronavirus, Soup Suppers for March 6th and March 20th have been cancelled. As we get closer to April, we will re-evaluate the situation. Watch this space for further details.


2019     September  20th   VFW Auxiliary
October4thOptimists
18thFirst Reformed Church & Victory Missionary Baptist
November1stFirst Baptist Church of Decatur
15thHonor Society & Decatur Public Schools
 
2020January 24thModern Woodman & James Ross Reeder Memorial
February7thPositively Dance
21stDecatur Bible Church
March6thEmmanuel Church of God in Christ
20thFirst Church of God
April3rdFirst Presbyterian Church of Decatur
17thHoly Family Catholic Church

Fifteen organizations help with our fundraising by providing soup, chili, and desserts for our Soup Suppers, which are held every two weeks except in summer.

Thank You! to all of the organizations who support this very important fundraiser for us, and special thanks to Holy Family Catholic Church who in addition to sponsoring a supper have allowed us to hold the Soup Suppers at the Church throughout the year.

Independence Day Chicken Dinner

After the 4th of July parade in Decatur we sponsor a homemade chicken dinner prepared by our volunteers. Desserts for the dinner are donated by various people. They have been well attended, and although they are a lot of work, it is worth the effort.