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April 2020
Global Friends Coalition: Educate, Embrace, Empower


COVID-19 Requires Creativity

 
Dear <<First Name>>,

Are you feeling somewhat overwhelmed? Me too! It's a bit scary to hear that the number of cases in Grand Forks and across the US of COVID-19 are expected to rise. Global Friends is working with families who are extremely worried--they have been laid off from their jobs and have little savings. We are doing some advocacy yet we need to do even more! As we figure out ways for you to help, we will let you know. Please check out the list of resources that are within this newsletter.

Global Friends is working with lots of different groups to get the word out about how to prevent the spread of COVID-19. We've created posters in Somali, Nepali, and English and asked for help from different businesses in Greater Grand Forks to post them. Working with the City of Grand Forks and the Welcoming Community Roadmap Project we also have put out videos by two of our Board Liaisons, Prakash Patak and Aisha Hassan. Prakash and Aisha made videos in Nepali and Somali focusing on some tools to remain safe and how to reach Altru's COVID-19 hotline, and another about the plans from the Grand Forks Public Schools.  We have posted these video's on Facebook.

Please know this: We are helping a number of people navigate filing for unemployment, figuring out social services status, and trouble shooting with people when their rent is due. I do wish that all bills could be put on hold right now, but that does not seem to be the case. While it's harder to help when we cannot go person to person, we are having volunteers trying new ways. Our UND Occupational Therapy students are putting their creative hats on as I write this letter and they are going to continue connecting with their New American friends. Other volunteers are checking in with their families. We are trying to think of ways to help without face-to face communication.

Global Friends is thinking about creative ways to tackle our mission of fostering refugee integration--so watch for some potentially new ideas. We are looking at new ways for Soup in the Studio. We've heard from our supporters and we know how much people love the bowls. Stay tuned!

We are also looking at new ways to deliver English classes. We had a large number of people attending our citizenship classes in preparation for their tests so let's see where this goes. Regarding citizenship, we are learning that people are getting letters telling them that their citizenship test has been cancelled indefinitely. Already in North Dakota, people are waiting 17 months from the time they put their citizenship application in to be processed. Who knows how long it will take for their tests to be rescheduled? It is frustrating for the people who have been waiting patiently for over a year and a half. 

While we are not in the office, we can be reached by phone and email. Call 701-330-0765 or email info@gfcoalition.org. Everything is different right now and we are trying to be responsive. 
Your continued support provides us hope. Through your gifts, and support, you make a difference. 

Sincerely,



Cynthia H. Shabb
Executive Director


PS: Please keep in mind the many needs of people; there are a lot of people being laid off without any savings available.
Community Resources
Grand Forks Community Support Facebook Group
This group brings together state and local news and resources every hour. They also answer questions and help coordinate assistance for families in need of supplies.

Grand Forks Food Pantry, Grocery, and Restaurant Resources
Lists food pantries and their hours and procedures for families in need of food assistance. It also lists the new hours for grocery stores, as well as hours and procedures for restaurants operating delivery or curbside pickup.

Grand Fork Housing Authority
Housing is now accepting change of income reporting online, so if you have a Section 8 voucher, or you live in a Housing Authority property, and you've been laid off or have had your hours reduced, report the change to your caseworker right away for immediate relief.

City of Grand Forks Covid-19 Resources
Stay up to date with resources from the City of Grand Forks
City of Grand Forks Facebook
The city is continuously updating residents through their Facebook, too, including live streaming the city's briefings.
 
North Dakota Department of Health
The Department of Health is leading the fight against Covid-19 at the state level. Stay up to date on the latest news and response through their website.
North Dakota Department of Health Facebook
Their Facebook also posts up-to-date information and livestreams their daily briefings at 10am and 4pm.

Free School Lunch & Breakfast Program
Grand Forks Public Schools is operating a free take-home lunch and breakfast (to take for the next day) program Monday through Friday on days school would normally be in session. Click the link to find distribution sites and times.

Grand Fork Herald
The city's flagship newspaper. They are making all coronavirus-related articles free for readers.
Updated Business Hours
This list compiled by the Herald and the Chamber of Commerce has updated hours for many businesses in Grand Forks.

High Plains Fair Housing
If you believe you're being treated unfairly and having your rights violated by your landlord, reach out to High Plains Fair Housing for assistance.

Firstlink / 2-1-1
Firstlink operates a community resource/crisis hotline. If you call 2-1-1, you can ask questions about where to find certain items, hours for stores or community resources, or just about anything. They are also trained crisis operators, so you if are feeling thoughts of suicide or just need someone to talk to, all people who answer the phone are trained to help.
Frequently Asked Questions / Useful Information
Covid-19 Information
Visit the CDC's website for more information about Covid-19, what you can do to stay safe, and what to do if you're not feeling well.

Visit Global Friend's Facebook page for translated material and videos concerning the virus and how to stay safe.

If you believe you have symptoms of the virus, please CALL Altru's 24/7 Coronavirus Hotline at 701.780.6358 before going into the ER or Urgent Care. They will ask you questions about your symptoms and travel, and have interpreters available, if needed. It is very important that you don't just go to the hospital before calling!

Public Schools
Governor Burgum has declared public schools closed indefinitely. Online education started on April 1st.
For information on the Governor's declaration
For information from Grand Forks Public Schools about online education

Stimulus Checks
More information at IRS.gov
If you make under $75,000 a year (or $150,000 as married couple), are a legal permanent resident or U.S. citizen, and are not claimed as a dependent on someone else's tax return, you may be eligible for a check of $1,200 per adult and $500 per child.
Tax data and bank account details from your 2019 (or 2018, if you haven't filed 2019 yet) tax returns will be used; if you have not filed taxes and gotten your refund (or paid taxes) through direct deposit, you may want to quickly do that; if the IRS has your direct deposit information, you will likely receive your check sooner. Otherwise, it will be sent in the mail.

Unemployment
If you've been laid off from work due to the Covid crisis, you may be eligible for Unemployment payments. If you're in North Dakota, visit the Job Service ND website for more information, to check eligibility, and to file a claim.

Income Tax Filing
The income tax filing deadline has been extended for everyone to July 15th, 2020. For more information, visit IRS.gov. You may still want to file sooner for a quicker refund.
U.S. Census - Help Our Community Receive Vital Funding


You are required by federal law to complete Census Forms. Let us know if we can help!

To learn how census data impact you and your community, visit 2020CENSUS.GOV

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