Updates, Info, and Resources for Community Organizations

Last updated 4/3/2020 click to view latest updates

It’s sweeping the nation. It’s all over the news and social media. It’s shuttering businesses, overwhelming healthcare systems, and popularizing the acronym “WFH.” COVID-19 has altered the way we will live and work for the next few months.

If you work at a community organization that provides essential services each and every day, you probably have no shortage of questions.

  • How do I serve my community while also protecting myself and others from COVID-19?
  • Where should I get updates?
  • What should food pantries and hot meal programs do?
  • How do we stay positive in these tough times?

This page features tips, facts, links, and other resources intended to help Chicagoland community organizations handle the COVID-19 pandemic. It will be regularly updated with more resources as the Northwest Food Partners Network becomes aware of them.

Want to help our community deal with COVID-19? Click here to support NFPN!

Table of Contents

Click on a link below to quickly scroll to a heading.

  • Where can I get accurate and timely COVID-19 info?
    • Nonprofits: Take Advantage of the CARES Act
    • Avoid Scams Related to COVID-19
    • Use Credible Sources of Information
    • Updates to SNAP and Other Policies
    • Map of Illinois Coronavirus Cases
    • Map of Global Coronavirus Cases
  • Food Resources
    • NFPN Food Resources Guide
    • Chicago Help Initiative COVID-19 Meal Resource Guide
    • Illinois Hunger Hotline
    • GCFD Info and Resources
    • No Kid Hungry COVID-19 Emergency Grant
    • Chicago Public Schools Grab-and-Go Meals
  • Housing, Financial, and Health Community Resources
    • City of Chicago COVID-19 Housing Assistance
    • Emergency Funds for Undocumented Individuals and Households
    • ICIRR COVID-19 Resources for Immigrants
    • Chicago Homeless Shelters and Services
    • New York Times Economic Help Hub
    • Block Club Chicago COVID-19 Advice
    • CPS Student Health and Wellness
    • Legal Aid Chicago Free Public Benefits Help
    • Howard Brown Sliding Scale Telehealth
    • Chicago Mutual Aid Resources
    • United Way 211 Hotline
    • Cradles to Crayons Resources for Families

Breaking News

This section will be regularly refreshed with important and useful news relating to COVID-19.

  • 4/1/20: Chicago Public Schools will be consolidating grab-and-go meal sites starting April 13th. See where you can pick up meals during spring break and after April 13th here.
  • 3/31/20: Governor Pritzker has extended the Illinois stay at home order until April 30th.
  • 3/31/20: The City of Chicago has created a COVID-19 Housing Assistance Grant for households in need of help paying rent.
  • 3/27/20: SNAP work requirements for Able Bodied Adults Without Dependents (ABAWDs) in Illinois have been suspended due to COVID-19. For more information, see this flyer.
  • 3/25/20: Despite a previous statement by Mayor Lightfoot, parking tickets will continue to be issued during the COVID-19 crisis.
  • 3/23/20: Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot is planning to use hotels to house COVID-19 patients and residents experiencing homelessness.
  • 3/20/20: Chicago Public Schools will remain closed until at least 4/20.
  • 3/20/20: Jewel-Osco, Mariano’s Whole Foods, and Target will be offering shopping hours exclusively for people 60 years and older.
  • 3/18/20: Chicago will stop all debt collection, ticketing, and impound practices through at least 4/30.

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What is COVID-19?

COVID-19, often simply referred to as “coronavirus,” is the infectious disease caused by the most recently discovered coronavirus. Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that cause illness in animals or humans. The name “coronavirus” comes from the crown-like spikes on the virus’ surface. Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) are two examples of coronaviruses that the world overcame in the past.


Reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death for confirmed coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases.

The following symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure.

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

The World Health Organization website has more info regarding COVID-19 symptoms.

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How can we protect ourselves against COVID-19?

Luckily for all of us, most people who become infected with COVID-19 experience mild illness and recover. However, the disease can be more severe for others, particularly people with pre-existing health risks.

Hygiene tips

According to the World Health Organization, you can take care of your health and protect others by doing the following:

  1. Wash your hands frequently.
    • Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water.
  2. Maintain social distancing.
    • Maintain at least a 6 foot distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
  3. Practice respiratory hygiene.
    • Make sure you, and the people around you, follow good respiratory hygiene. This means covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately.
  4. Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth.
    • Hands touch many surfaces and can pick up viruses. Once contaminated, hands can transfer the virus to your eyes, nose or mouth. From there, the virus can enter your body and can make you sick.
  5. If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early.
    • Stay home if you feel unwell. If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention and call in advance.

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Coronavirus infographic

This infographic from West Side United can be printed and prominently displayed as a helpful reminder of how to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

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Diluting your household bleach

If regular cleaning products are sold out at the store, you can dilute your bleach to create an effective, coronavirus-killing disinfectant solution.

  • To make a bleach solution, mix:
    • 5 tablespoons (1/3rd cup) bleach per gallon of water
    • 4 teaspoons bleach per quart of water

Follow manufacturer’s instructions for application and proper ventilation. Check to ensure the product is not past its expiration date. Never mix household bleach with ammonia or any other cleanser. Unexpired household bleach will be effective against coronaviruses when properly diluted.

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What safety precautions should community organizations take?

Emergency food providers and community organizations face a difficult dilemma as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. The disease is highly contagious, and self-quarantine is encouraged. However, many community members rely on the services of community organizations to put food on the table and fill other essential needs.

Luckily, a number of organizations have offered guidances and information particular to community organizations. By following these guidances, most community organizations can safely continue their daily operations.

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Best Practices for Community and Faith-Based Organizations

  • Actively encourage sick employees and clients to stay home.
  • Promote hygiene by…
    • Placing posters that encourage staying home when sick, cough and sneeze etiquette, and hand hygiene at the entrance to your facility and in other areas where they are likely to be seen.
    • Providing tissues and no-touch disposal receptacles.
  • Routinely clean all frequently touched surfaces, such as workstations, countertops, and doorknobs.
    • Use the cleaning agents that are usually used in these areas and follow the directions on the label – no additional disinfection is recommended at this time.
  • Plan for a COVID-19 outbreak in Chicago by…
    • Meeting with your emergency operations coordinator or planning team to develop or update your emergency operations plan.
    • Establishing relationships with key community partners and stakeholders.
    • Planning for worker absences.
    • Identifying space that can be used to separate sick people (if possible).
    • Planning ways to increase the space between people or limit face-to-face contact between people at your organization.
    • Planning ways to continue essential services if on-site operations are reduced
    • Updating your emergency communication plan for distributing timely and accurate information.
  • Fight stigma and fear by…
    • Supporting people who are coming back to work after completing their quarantine period
    • Letting people know that being of Asian descent does not increase the chance of getting or spreading COVID-19.

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Best Practices for Emergency Food Providers

GCFD Guidance for Food Pantries[2]
  • During this time, pre-packed bags or boxes of food can be used to support quick service and minimize the amount of human contact between people and items.
    • GCFD recognizes this is a temporary break from the preferred model of client choice.
  • At intake, volunteers and/or staff can verbally ask for pantry guests name and household size and capture this information for the guest visit, without requiring any further information or signature from the guest.
    • GCFD asks staff/volunteers to ensure this is entered into your electronic intake system and at the point of data entry the staff/volunteer entering the data can initial/verify the interaction.
  • All programs who have capacity to provide home delivery services can do so during this time.
    • GCFD asks to please ensure you track home deliveries.

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GCFD Guidance for Hot Meal Programs[3]
  • Programs that prepare and serve hot meals may choose to prepare to-go meals.
  • Meals do not need to be served in a congregate setting at this time.

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Where can I get accurate and timely COVID-19 info?

These days, there are countless sources of information at our fingertips. When it comes to the health of you, your organization, and your clients, it’s critical that you find and use information that is credible. Your health – and the health of your community – may depend on it.

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Nonprofits: Take Advantage of the CARES Act

With very thin budgets, many nonprofits are forced to make difficult decisions without financial resources to sustain daily operations. Many families and regular donors are not donating right now.

To help stimulate the economy, The United States Federal CARES Act has been passed with multiple provisions to help small business and nonprofit organizations. It is greatly beneficial for distressed nonprofit organizations.

Donorbox has created CARES Act: How Can Your Nonprofit Take Advantage? Check it out and get federal funding support for your nonprofit.

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Avoid Scams Related to COVID-19

  • Watch out for high-priced or low-quality products.
  • Don’t trust anyone offering vaccinations or other treatments.
  • Consider seeking a refund for cancelled travel.
  • Be on alert for scams.
  • Look out for unauthorized or fraudulent charities or solicitations.

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Fact Checking COVID-19

Many claims related to COVID-19 have been circulating the internet. “The Coronavirus Collection: Fact-Checking COVID-19” by Snopes is a webpage that has fact checked a number of these COVID-19 claims. Check it out here.

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Use Credible Sources of Information

  • Reputable journalism outlets are offering frequent, insightful updates on the crisis, and some have lowered their paywalls for COVID-19 coverage. You can access articles related to COVID-19 from…
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) has an abundance of resources relating to COVID-19, including…
    • Advice for members of the public
    • Myth busters
    • Situation updates
    • Pandemic data
  • The Center for Disease Control (CDC) may have not responded quickly enough to the COVID-19 outbreak, but their website hosts a wide range of valuable COVID-19 resources, including…
    • How to Protect Yourself
    • Symptoms
    • If You Think You Are Sick
    • Prepare Your Family
    • Resources for the Community
    • Email updates

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Updates to SNAP and Other Policies

For the latest updates to federal policies addressing COVID-19, including the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, visit the Food Research and Action Center’s (FRAC) COVID-19 Updates page.

Forefront’s COVID-19 Policy Updates page also provides updates regarding federal policy responses to COVID-19.

Illinois SNAP Advocates offers the Google document of Rolling SNAP Updates: COVID-19 Response.

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Map of Illinois Coronavirus Cases

The Chicago Reporter created a map of COVID-19 cases in Illinois that is updated daily. It details cases and deaths on the county level.

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Map of Global Coronavirus Cases

The Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center is constantly updating a Map of Coronavirus / COVID-19 Global Cases. The map tracks cases across the United States and around the world.

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How can I continue to fight hunger?

NFPN Food Resources Guide

  • Print out and distribute copies of the NFPN Food Resources Guide to your community.
    • You can also download the guide and email it to your clients or upload the guide to your website.
    • Make sure that community members know to call ahead before going to a food pantry or hot meal program – some organizations may have changed their hours.
  • The NFPN Food Resources Guide can also be easily accessed by community members from their phone.

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Chicago Help Initiative COVID-19 Meal Resource Guide

The Chicago Help Initiative has created a Meal Resource Guide to help community members find food during the COVID-19 crisis. The Meal Resource Guide includes some food pantries on Chicago’s West Side, North Side, South Side, and Downtown.

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Illinois Hunger Hotline

The Illinois Hunger Coalition’s Hunger Hotline provides free, confidential help with finding food.


  • A Free Service
  • Se Habla Español
  • Monday – Friday
  • 9AM to 5PM

The Hunger Hotline can assist you with…

  • Applying for SNAP
  • Applying for health coverage
  • Finding out if you qualify for other food programs, like WIC
  • Finding an emergency food pantry or soup kitchen near you
  • And more.

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GCFD Info and Resources

  • The Greater Chicago Food Depository website offers information and resources relevant to emergency food providers.
    • On Monday, March 16th, GCFD hosted an Emergency Update call regarding COVID-19. You can view the notes from that call by clicking here.
      • The call touched upon…
        • Updates to GCFD partnerships
        • Advice for emergency food providers
        • Info about COVID-19 from a doctor specializing in respiratory diseases
      • As usual, community members can find a food program in their neighborhood through GCFD’s Find Food Map.
      • GCFD’s Benefits Outreach and SNAP Team helps people in Cook County apply for, maintain, and use public benefits. Their hotline, 773-843-5416, can help community members avoid a trip to the public aid office.

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No Kid Hungry COVID-19 Emergency Grant

No Kid Hungry is offering real time funding and assistance for schools, early childcare centers, and community organizations that are making sure kids have access to the meals they need as schools close due to coronavirus.

No Kid Hungry is providing emergency grants to support local efforts to reach children and families who lose access to meals, such as…

  • Home delivered meals,
  • Grab and go meals programs,
  • School and community pantries,
  • Backpack programs,
  • And more.

$1 million in emergency grants will be distributed on a rolling basis.

If your organization needs funding to support these efforts, please submit your interest in receiving emergency grant funds:

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Chicago Public Schools Grab-and-Go Meals

Chicago Public Schools are offering free grab-and-go meals to CPS students during the COVID-19 crisis. For more information about the CPS response to COVID-19, click here.

Starting April 6th, Chicago Public Schools will be consolidating grab-and-go school meals. Click here or click the images below to see the sites where CPS will be providing grab-and-go meals during the CPS spring break (April 6-9) and from April 13th onward.

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Immigrant and Refugee Resources

Emergency Funds for Undocumented Individuals and Households

The Betancourt Macias Family Scholarship Foundation has set up emergency funding opportunities for undocumented individuals and families impacted by COVID-19.

Si usted es indocumentado o tiene familiares indocumentados y han sido afectados por la pandemia de COVID-19, haga clic en el enlace para completar el formulario de solicitud.

If you are undocumented yourself or have family members who are undocumented and have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, click on the link below to fill out the request form.

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ICIRR COVID-19 Resources for Immigrants

The Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR) has a Community Resources page featuring useful tools and information for immigrant families.

In addition, ICIRR has created a Google Doc of Resources for Immigrants During the COVID-19 Crisis.

The ICIRR Resources for Immigrants During the COVID- 19 Crisis guide was created to address the needs of the immigrant and refugee community in the state of Illinois.

La guía Recursos para Inmigrantes Durante la Crisis de COVID- 19 de ICIRR fue creada para abordar las necesidades de la comunidad de inmigrantes y refugiado en el estado de Illinois.

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Housing, Financial, and Health Community Resources

City of Chicago COVID-19 Housing Assistance

The City of Chicago recently announced a COVID-19 Housing Assistance Grant program to assist Chicagoans who have lost their jobs or otherwise been impacted by the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic. 

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Chicago Homeless Shelters and Services

The Homeless Shelter Directory lists all of the homeless shelters and services for the needy in Chicago and surrounding cities. Click below to view the directory.

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New York Times Economic Help Hub

  • The New York Times’ Hub for Help During the Coronavirus Crisis is aimed at helping individuals who have been impacted by the economic fallout of COVID-19. It features info on…
    • How unemployment insurance works
    • Social Security applications
    • Where to get free financial planning help
    • How consumer lenders are helping
    • Ways to keep the lights on and the phones working
    • What the student loan waiver doesn’t do
    • More things that might help

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Block Club Chicago COVID-19 Advice

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CPS Student Health and Wellness

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Free Public Benefits Help

Legal Aid Chicago Public Benefits Hotline

Need help applying for Department of Human Services (DHS) benefits? Legal Aid Chicago has created a dedicated hotline to help with public benefits applications, such as…

  • SNAP (food assistance)
  • Medicaid (health coverage)
  • Cash (assistance for families and for the aged, blind, or disabled)

Call 312-347-8342 for help. Check out the flyer below for more details!

Legal Aid Chicago Unemployment Benefits Guide

Connecting with unemployment benefits is key to preventing hunger in the community. Legal Aid Chicago has an Illinois Unemployment Benefits Info Sheet which can be found below.

The info sheet details…

  • Who is eligible for Illinois unemployment benefits?
  • How are unemployment benefits calculated?
  • What is the duration of unemployment benefits?
  • How are unemployment claims filed?
  • What can you do if a claim is denied?

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Howard Brown Sliding Scale Telehealth

In order to continue serving patients with high-quality healthcare, Howard Brown Health has invested in remote appointments for all existing primary care patients, with services for new patients to begin in early April 2020.

Starting Wednesday, March 25, 2020, you can access the Howard Brown Health clinical team by video consultation. This new mode of care is called“telehealth” and allows you to see a provider from the safety of your own home. 

All telehealth visits are eligible for Howard Brown Health’s sliding scale fees.

If you are an existing patient, call 773.388.1600 to schedule a telehealth appointment.

If you are a new patient, call 773.388.1600 to be added to Howard Brown Health’s telehealth wait list.

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Chicago Mutual Aid Resources

Chicago COVID-19 Hardship & Help

Whether you are a parent whose income has dried up, a struggling freelancer, or enduring any other financial strife during this crisis, the Chicago Mutual Aid Network is a resource for you to ask for whatever financial help you need.

To post a request, you can fill out this form. Not everyone will get the help they ask for, but the form gives people to have the opportunity to ask as well as the opportunity to help.

If you are financially secure and want to help someone whose livelihood has been impacted by this crisis, please pick a hardship to address and donate.

Learn more about the Chicago Mutual Aid Network here.

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Logan Square Mutual Aid Network

Logan Square Mutual Aid is designed for easily helping one another. In the midst of a global pandemic and recession, the best and most effective thing we can do – apart from social distancing – is to help our neighbors and let them help us. 

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United Way Free 211 Hotline

United Way provides 211, a free and confidential service that helps people across North America find the local resources they need 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Simply dial 211 to receive help.

211 is a free, confidential referral and information helpline and website that connects people of all ages and from all communities to the essential health and human services they need, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

You can find information about: 

  • supplemental food and nutrition programs
  • shelter and housing options and utilities assistance
  • emergency information and disaster relief
  • employment and education opportunities
  • services for veterans
  • health care, vaccination and health epidemic information
  • addiction prevention and rehabilitation programs
  • reentry help for ex-offenders
  • support groups for individuals with mental illnesses or special needs
  • a safe, confidential path out of physical and/or emotional domestic abuse

Call 211 and speak with a live, highly trained service professional in your area from any cell phone or landline. All calls are private and confidential. 

For more info, check out the United Way 211 Information Page.

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Cradles to Crayons Resources for Families

Cradles to Crayons offers a Family Assistance Map displaying community organizations that provide services such as…

  • Child care
  • Housing
  • Mental health
  • Food access
  • Education, etc.

Cradles to Crayons has also created a printable COVID-19 Resource Guide listing organizations that are able to provide…

  • Education
  • Essential Items
  • Financial Assistance
  • Food Access

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How should I stay connected with my coworkers, clients, and community?

Over the course of two short weeks, many organizations have been forced to transition from generic office-based work arrangements to teleworking whenever possible. While teleworking may be untrodden ground for some organizations, there are resources and practices any organization can implement to stay in constant contact and maintain productivity.

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Internal Communications

8 Tips for Communicating with Employees During a Crisis
1. Be proactive. Anticipate and plan for issues that your organization could encounter before they happen.
2. Get a team together. During the planning phase, identify employees who will make up the crisis management team—the people who will know what to do when disaster strikes.
3. Don’t expect employees to come to you. Implement a notification system that quickly reaches out to employees with accurate information and guidance.
4. Don’t put up roadblocks. Trying to keep employees from communicating about crises via social media is futile. Instead, help them shape their messages by giving them correct information in a timely manner.
5. Act fast—but only say what you know to be true. Speed is of the essence when it comes to crisis communications, but it shouldn’t come at the price of accuracy. 6. Don’t go silent. If your organization is not yet ready to respond to an emergency, HR should at least let staffers know that the organization is gathering information and will follow up as soon as it can. 
7. Test—then test again. The most well-crafted communication plan won’t be very helpful if employees have no idea what it is or how to use it. At least once a year, test the process to find out from workers what it does and doesn’t do well, and then adjust accordingly.
8. Evaluate. Post-crisis assessments are as important as pre-crisis plans. After the fact, review how the internal communication plan was executed. Determine what succeeded and what can be improved.
Adapted from “Communicating with Employees During a Crisis” by SHRM
Video Conferencing Tools
  • Microsoft Teams allows your work team to video conference, group chat, and share documents, all using one program. Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, Microsoft is currently offering Teams for free.
  • Zoom allows you to host online meetings, create collaboration-enabled conference rooms, and host video webinars. A Zoom Basic plan is free and allows you to host meetings up to 40 minutes long.
Text Communication Tools
  • Slack is a computer program that allows colleagues to message each other instantly. In addition to sending instant messages, you can easily share files, links, and documents with your colleagues. All conversations are searchable, so you’ll never misplace an important file or piece of info. In addition to being a free software, Slack is currently offering complimentary consulations with Slack experts to learn how to stay productive while switching to remote work.

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The Ultimate Guide to Remote Work has published The Ultimate Guide to Remote Work, featuring tips and tricks for ensuring your office is productive and collaborative while working remotely.

Topics include…

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External Communications

With many community members self-quarantining and staying at home, using conventional means of communication may be a bit more difficult. Now is the perfect time for your organization to leverage or develop a digital following.

  • Public Narrative aims to help communities tell their stories through communications tools and the media. They offer frequent trainings, some of which are free for nonprofits.Public Narrative will be offering a FREE webinar entitled “People, Pegs, and Pitches: How do you tell your story when everything is shut down?” from 12 – 1:30PM on 3/20, 3/25, and 3/27. Register here.
  • Zoom allows you to host online meetings, create collaboration-enabled conference rooms, and host video webinars. A Zoom Basic plan is free and allows you to host meetings up to 40 minutes long.
    • When hosting Zoom calls with the public or external stakeholders, make sure to follow these tips, for your safety and comfort:
      • For large, public access calls, disable the setting that lets all participants share their screen.
      • Disable “Join Before Host” so people can’t cause trouble before you arrive.
      • Enabling “Co-Host” so you can assign others to help moderate.
      • Disable “File Transfer” so there’s no digital virus sharing.
      • Disable “Allow Removed Participants to Rejoin” so booted attendees can’t slip back in.
      • Consider adding a password for both scheduled and instant meetings. Otherwise, someone only needs the link to join in on your call.
      • Be wary of unsolicited Zoom invitations from groups you’ve never interacted with before.

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What about the 2020 Census?

Bureau outreach kicked off in early March, and invitations to complete the Census continue to arrive in mailboxes. Over 11 million households had responded as of March 18th.

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Census Bureau Updates

The 2020 Census is still proceeding as constitutionally mandated. However, the Census Bureau has taken a number of steps to slow the spread of coronavirus.

  • Census field operations will be suspended until April 1st.
  • The Census is working with service providers at emergency and transitional shelters, soup kitchens, and regularly scheduled mobile food vans to adapt plans to count the populations they serve.
    • The Census Bureau is now contacting service providers to determine…
      • Whether they will be open between March 30 and April 1
      • Whether they would be able to provide a paper listing of census response data for each person served or staying at the facility
        • This would be instead of Census-conducted interviews.
  • Census Bureau is contacting group quarters facilities to see if they will be able to take down Census information on March 30th or April 1st at their facility.
    • Group Quarters Operation includes places like college dorms, nursing homes, group homes, halfway houses and prisons.
  • College students will be counted where they live most of the time around April 1st
    • The Census Bureau is asking schools to reach out to students to remind them to complete the Census.
    • If a student lives mostly at school, they should be counted as living there, rather than at home.
  • Census takers will begin visiting non-responsive households in late May.
    • To reach non-responsive households, the Bureau will emphasize phone calls instead of in-person visits.
    • If necessary, Census takers will knock on doors in accordance with public health guidance.

The most recent updates to the Census Bureau’s plans and strategies can be found via the Census Bureau’s press releases.

Relevant Press Releases as of 3/19/2020:

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Census Community Outreach

As community organizations, we have an obligation to our neighbors to promote an accurate and fair 2020 Census count. However, COVID-19 presents obvious challenges to that imperative.

But don’t worry – with some creativity and ingenuity, there are some ways we can still connect those we serve with Census info and resources.

  • Social media posts, including paid, geo-targeted ads, can help connect thousands of local community members with information about when and how to complete the Census.
  • Mailers can send Census outreach printouts and goodies to community members, such as…
    • Fact sheets
    • Small posters
    • Buttons
    • Pledge cards
  • Supermarkets and other stores that people regularly access can be valuable Census outreach partners. You can contact local businesses and see if you use the following at their location:
    • Posters
    • Plastic or paper bags with Census information
    • Flyers
    • Census info stamps on eggs and egg cartons
  • Pre-packaged food assistance pickups can be stuffed with Census outreach info and goodies.
  • Online events, such as games, webinars, and livestreams, can be used to speak to community members about the Census through the internet.
    • Facebook Live is a way to livestream video for free. You can use a Facebook event and targeted ads to get the word out.
    • Zoom and other free videoconferencing tools can be used to host public webinars.

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How can I make sure my organization has enough volunteers?

Due to the importance of social distancing, many organizations may be experiencing volunteer shortages. There are digital tools available to help your organization try to recruit new volunteers.

  • The NFPN Volunteer Recruitment Hub is a way for our network to connect with volunteers in our community. Download and complete this sign-up form and email it to rmaia(at) to have your organization’s opportunities added to the hub.
  • VolunteerMatch allows you to list your volunteer opportunities online for potential volunteers to find. Click on the link above to visit their site and register your organization.
  • The Greater Chicago Food Depository has offered to potentially connect emergency food providers with volunteers. Call them at 773-247-3663 for more info.

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Resource Repositories

Many organizations and networks have already created lists, documents, and hubs chock full of information and resources related to COVID-19. Check them out below!

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Stay Positive!

Self-care is key to your productivity and wellbeing, especially during a crisis. Without taking care of yourself mentally, physically, and emotionally, you won’t be an effective community change agent. Here are some ideas and resources aimed at helping you care for yourself.

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Taking care of your mental health

It’s hard to sift through the messages and information coming at us. Worse, the
“unknown unknown” (not knowing what you don’t even know) can cause even greater anxiety for those of us who are panic-prone.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) has published a collection of COVID-19 information and resources which can be found here.

If you are in need of mental health assistance, NAMI has a dedicated helpline that can provide assistance

  • NAMI Helpline
  • Monday-Friday, 9:00AM to 5:00PM CDT
  • (800) 950-6264

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Supporting local businesses

Countless research studies have illustrated the strong connection between economics and hunger. Small and local businesses play a critical role in ensuring food security for our communities. By supporting these businesses as they grapple with the financial implications of COVID-19, you can help promote food security while also treating yourself to something nice.

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Silver linings

The worldwide COVID-19 pandemic is not to be taken lightly. But in the interest of raising collective spirits, here are some “silver linings” that have resulted from the disease outbreak.

  • In Venice, without pollution from boats, swans and dolphins have visited the canals for the first time in nearly 60 years!
  • Reduced air pollution in China will potentially save the lives of tens of thousands of people, according to a professor at Stanford.
  • Many organizations and companies are offering frequent webinars in place of events that would usually require you to attend in person, saving us all time and money. Plus, you can attend meetings in your pajamas!
  • Some schools are developing useful remote learning resources for parents to explore with their children.

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Just for fun

  • Chicago’s Inner-City Muslim Action Network (IMAN) launched InnerNet Cyphers, a series of interactive virtual Cyphers with intimate audiences for artists to share performances or live demos of their artistic process, workshops, or conversations about relevant topics. Register for an upcoming virtual experience here.
  • NPR has a constantly-updated list of online concerts and performances that are being livestreamed.
  • Netflix Party is a free Google Chrome extension that allows you to watch Netflix with your friends online, synchronizing video playback and adding group chat.
  • See below for more uplifting COVID-19 content.
Neil Diamon’s COVID-19 “Sweet Caroline” Remix

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Latest COVID-19 Hub Updates

This Week’s Updates

  • 4/3/20, 11AM: Added “CARES Act: How Can Your Nonprofit Take Advantage?”
  • 4/2/20, 2PM: Added links to ICIRR COVID-19 resources for immigrants. Created Immigrant and Refugee Resources section.
  • 4/1/20, 12PM: Added Block Club Chicago Resources. Added Chicago Vintage Shops support link. Added Chicago Help Initiative COVID-19 Meal Resource Guide.
  • 3/31/20, 2PM: Added IMAN’s Innernet Cyphers entertainment events. Reorganized page to have food resources separate from housing/financial/health resources. Added news of Illinois’s stay at home order extending to April 30th.
  • 3/31/20, 12PM: Added Little Village Environmental Justice Organization COVID-19 Resources. Added “The Coronavirus Collection: Fact-Checking COVID-19” by Snopes. Added Chicago Housing Assistance Grant.
  • 3/30/20, 3PM: Added Logan Square Mutual Aid. Added Modern Farmer’s List of CSAs in 50 States. Added DO312’s list of local Chicago business offers. Added “The Ultimate Guide to Remote Work.” Added Chicago and Illinois COVID-19 Resource Page. Added Illinois SNAP Advocates’ Rolling SNAP Policy Updates Google doc.

Past Updates

  • 3/27/20, 12PM: Added Cradles to Crayons Family Resource Map and COVID-19 Resource Guide.
  • 3/26/20, 2PM: Added United Way 211 hotline. Added University of Illinois COVID-19 Resources link. Added link to NFPN COVID-19 Assistance page.
  • 3/25/20, 4PM: Added Howard Browth Sliding Scale Telehealth. Added Chicago COVID-19 Hardship and Help Page.
  • 3/25/20, 1PM: Added emergency funds and resources for undocumented communities affected by COVID-19. Added info about supporting Chicago Board Game Cafe.
  • 3/24/20, 5PM: Added 8 Tips for Communicating with Employees During a Crisis. Added Forefront COVID-19 Resources and Policy Updates.
  • 3/23/20, 5PM: Added WHO link to COVID-19 Symptoms section. Added Breaking News regarding hotels being used to house residents experiencing homelessness.
  • 3/23/20, 3:PM: Added WBEZ Coronavirus Live Blog. Added Neil Diamond “Sweet Caroline” COVID-19 Remix. Added link to Legal Aid Chicago unemployment benefits fact sheet.
  • 3/23/20, 10:00AM: Added Round-Up of Multilingual COVID-19 Resources
  • 3/20/20, 12:30PM: Added No Kid Hungry Emergency Grant. Added Illinois Hunger Hotline. Added NAMI Chicago mental health hotline.
  • 3/19/20, 6:30PM: Added “Taking care of your mental health,” which highlights a collection of COVID-19 resources and info from the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

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