We are facing truly unprecedented times. The sudden outbreak of the COVID-19 virus has disrupted our way of life and the well-being of our communities. In a time like this, when crucial services such as medical facilities and food distribution are affected, having a list of places within your local community where you can get help is potentially very useful.
The PATH Crisis Center is located right in Bloomington, and its mission is to help people who need the most help. Their main focus is on adult protective services. If you or anyone you know are over 60 years old or suffering from a disability, PATH will be there to help you in your time of need. Reported issues may vary from physical, emotional, and sexual abuse to forced confinement, neglect, financial exploitation, self-neglect, suicidal thoughts, homelessness risks, and more. Simply dial 2-1-1 if you fall into the above categories and are in urgent need of help.
Bloomington residents who are struggling with illness or job loss and are in need of some short-term financial assistance can ask Bloomington City Township for help. They can help you with crucial expenses, such as food, rent, household essentials, and utilities, so you can get through this tough time in your life with no additional complications. They also offer emergency assistance in case you are in danger of getting evicted or having your basic utilities cut off because of a lack of payment.
Times like these, when we are all required to self-isolate, can prove to be a real nightmare for victims of regular domestic abuse. If you’re one of those people and are in urgent need of help, the Mid-Central Community Action’s Domestic Violence Hotline is available 24 hours a day, every day. Simply call 309-827-7070 and they will provide you with solutions for emergency shelter, counseling, legal services, child care services, and anything else that you may need. When this crisis is over, they will also resume their support groups, helping victims of violence heal by sharing their experiences.
Although most people are required to stay at home for the duration of the COVID-19 outbreak, there are still many brave workers who are working even more than usual to combat the virus and to limit its effects. Medical and health care workers, emergency professionals, police and fire squads, food delivery professionals, and many more are out there serving their community and may be in need of child care assistance. Those who can’t afford professional child care services still have options within the local community.
McLean County’s YMCA facilities are temporarily closed but still provide an emergency school-aged child care program for families who are working during this time but can’t afford child care elsewhere. Although there’s usually a fee involved, the YMCA will not refuse anyone because of their inability to pay. Children will be safe and involved in activities like arts and crafts, team games, sports, and free play.
The Child Care Resource & Referral Network in Bloomington will also assist the children of essential workers during this time by helping their families pay for any child care service that is still operational. Workers who would like to enroll their children into one of these services but simply can’t afford it can send their application to [email protected], and if they are eligible they will receive a one-time stipend for child care services.
Food is something we all need every day of our lives, and it may be hard to come by in times of crisis. Luckily, there are many food pantries in both Bloomington and Gibson City where those who need a meal for themselves and their families can find healthy food.
The Gibson City Police Department is distributing food boxes for those in need throughout the community. They are available at the Police Station Garage and pickup can be arranged by calling 217-784-8666. Alternatively, The Gibson Area Food Pantry is organizing food distributions every second and fourth Saturday of each month. To avoid any accidental contamination, all recipients will be asked to remain in their vehicles and food will be brought to them.
If you’re in Bloomington and are in need of some emergency food, the local Salvation Army’s food pantry on West Washington Street is a safe choice. The pantry is open on Mondays from 1 to 4 p.m., and the food will be distributed by using a drive-through system. Alternatively, the Society of St. Vincent De Paul-Holy Trinity Conference on North Roosevelt Street is organizing a food and clothing pantry every Monday from 9 a.m. to noon and from 1 to 4 p.m.
Thankfully, this unique situation arose in a time when everyone is connected through the internet, making information more easily accessible to the general public. However, not everyone can afford internet, but companies and organizations are doing their best to keep everyone connected in these difficult times. AT&T subscribers will be happy to know that the company has pledged a 60-day extension on any outstanding payments, meaning that you will still have internet even if you temporarily can’t afford to pay for it. Their Wi-Fi hot spots in Gibson City and Bloomington will also be free of charge.
Both towns also have many free Wi-Fi spots available in town, where people can go to use and connect their devices. These hot spots are usually found in public institutions, a good example of that being the Bloomington Public Library, which offers free Wi-Fi in its parking lot during regular business hours.
These are the main emergency services that we at Hustedt Jewelers believe will be the most helpful for people living in Bloomington and Gibson City. If you feel that there are other helpful emergency aid services that should make this list, please don’t hesitate to drop us a line. In times like these, we all need to take care of each other, be responsible, and have faith that things will soon get back to normal.