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Getting Help and Helping the Helpers 

With service providers stepping up, here's a guide on how to help and how to give

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Across Humboldt County, nonprofits and other organizations are providing a life-line to community members in need, a group that is steadily growing as the impacts of COVID-19 and the county's shelter-in-place order reverberate. Here are a few ways to help those who are helping others access some of the services available.


Access Humboldt: The nonprofit is working to keep the community connected through a variety of mediums— including TV channels and KZZH FM 96.7 community radio, including by finding ways to allow remote participation in the public meetings of local city councils, the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors and other commissions. "Our goal is to share and support new best practices that protect public health while advancing civic participation," Executive Director Sean Taketa McLaughlin said in a press release.

Working with the parent company of Suddenlink, the nonprofit also recently announced that households with students without access to the internet would qualify for 60 days of no-strings-attached free service from the provider in its areas of service. For more information on that program, call (888) 633-0030. And for more information on Access Humboldt, including how to support its mission, visit www.accesshumboldt.net, email info@accesshumboldt.net or call 476-1798.


Arcata House Partnership: Residents currently residing with Arcata House are sheltering in place and receiving three meals a day from the nonprofit.

Some services are now limited or curtailed during the emergency COVID-19 precautions. The day center at the Annex located at 501 Ninth St. (across from the Arcata Transit Station and next to the ball park) is open from 11:15 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekdays for services, including mail, social service updates and snacks, with hand washing stations and portable toilets available, but the showers are closed.

Its pantry at Trinity Baptist Church, 2450 Alliance Road, is open from 4 to 6 p.m. Wednesdays, with hours adjusted to 3 to 6 p.m. as client flow demands.

Restaurants looking to donate inventory to the meal program can contact Arcata House Partnership at 633-6236 to leave a message for Executive Director Darlene Spoor. Other information on how to help can be found at the nonprofit's website, www.arcatahouse.org.


Betty Kwan Chinn Homeless Foundation: The nonprofit is offering 100 free to-go dinners for families and individuals at its Eureka-based day center, 133 Seventh St., on weekdays from 3:30 to 4:30.p.m., for as long as the foundation is able. Programs at the day center are limited to comply with the shelter-in-place order but current clients can receive mail and access the computer lab for housing and employment uses. All new sign-ups have been suspended and no donated items are being accepted at this time. For more information on the foundation's services and how to help, visit www.bettychinn.org.


Cooperation Humboldt: The organization is putting together a network of volunteers to run errands and deliver supplies for community members in high-risk groups — like those over the age of 65 or who have a serious underlying health problem — who are self-isolating. It is also building a registry of those in need of help. So to get or give help through Cooperation Humboldt, visit www.cooperationhumboldt.com.


Eureka Rescue Mission: The shelter, which is currently serving 100 residents but not taking new clients, is seeking a helping hand after shutting its thrift store amid COVID-19 shelter-in-place order. Donations of basics like large bags of rice, oatmeal, beans or other proteins, as well as toilet paper and other hygiene products are being accepted. Financial donations can be made online at www.eurekarescuemission.org or by mail to P.O. Box 76, Eureka, CA 95502. For more information, call 445-3787.


Food for People: The food bank, which serves 12,000 individuals a month under normal circumstances through a network of 17 food pantries and other programs, is still seeking additional warehouse and cold storage space after its main building was damaged by a sewage backup earlier this month, as well as asking those who are able to make financial donations to help the nonprofit make it through — and meet the increased need in the community. The food bank has tweaked its operations — pre-packing food bags, implementing drive-through pickups and increasing "social distancing" practices — to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 at its distribution points, which include a new Eureka location in the old Chamber of Commerce building. For more information on how to donate or how to access its food pantry services, call Food for People at 445-3166 or visit www.foodforpeople.org. (Coast Central Credit Union is also allowing members to donate directly to Food for People at its local branches.)


Fortuna Transit: In-city service for Fortuna residents who are 50 and older and/or persons with a disability, will continue from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekdays. Pick-up and drop-off services of essential items for current clients who are self-isolating will depend on demand and staff availability. For more information, call 725-7625.


Humboldt Area Foundation: In coordination with the Wild Rivers Community Foundation in Crescent City, the nonprofit set up a COVID-19 Regional Response Fund to help meet the "immediate and emerging needs of our region's most vulnerable residents," according to a press release.

To that end, the fund — which is seeking community contributions — will provide grants to charitable organizations in Humboldt, Trinity, Del Norte and Curry counties. For more information, visit www.hafoundation.org or call 442-2993.


Humboldt Senior Resource Center: Staff is available to assist over the phone but the center has changed some operations, including closing its day center. Home food delivery is continuing as normal and take-out is available for those 60 and older. Reservations are required. For questions regarding any program, call HSRC at 443-9747.

Schedule for meal pick-up by location:

Arcata — 11:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m., Monday through Friday. Call 825-2027 to reserve. Drive to the east side of the building where the Senior Room entrance is located and staff will bring the meal(s) to you.

Eureka — 11:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m., Monday through Friday. Call 442-1181 to reserve. Drive into the parking lot and park in a space near the back door; staff will bring out the meal(s).

Fortuna — Noon to 12:30 p.m., Tuesday through Friday. Call 725-6245 to reserve. Pull in front of the Fortuna Senior Center wing and staff will bring out the meal(s).

Redwood Coast PACE: The program remains open, but the Day Center is closed.


Northern California Community Blood Bank: The Northern California Community Blood Bank is seeking healthy donors to visit their local blood bank amid dwindling donations coupled with a potentially growing need.

The Eureka Faith Community Center is holding a blood drive Thursday, March 26, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., which will require making an appointment by calling 442-1784. For a full schedule of the apheresis mobiles, visit www.nccbb.net or call 443-8004. And drop-in donations are still welcome at the bank in Eureka, 2524 Harrison Ave., which is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Fridays and from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays. While it will still be open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Wednesdays, traditional family night activities are on hiatus, and the blood bank won't be serving food and urges parents not to bring their children for the time being.


Rio Dell: The city is collecting the names and contact information of those willing to help others in the community who may be experiencing difficulties during the COVID-19 emergency. To sign up, send an email to volunteers@cityofriodell.ca.gov and provide the following: full name, date of birth, phone number, mailing address, shirt size and personal specialties and restrictions, such as being willing to cook but not clean. For more information or to request assistance, visit www.cityofriodell.ca.gov or call 764-3532.


Salvation Army: The Salvation Army is responding to a growing need from local families and individuals during the shelter-in-place order and is seeking donations of food and hygiene items. It is also distributing meals at 2123 Tydd St. in Eureka on weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon as well as food delivery programs for those who are homebound. For more information, visit www.facebook.com/TSAEureka or call 442-6475. And for in-kind donations, contact the Eureka volunteer coordinator at Hannah.hubner@usw.salvationarmy.org.


School meals: School districts across Humboldt County are distributing meals for children 18 and under while campuses remained shuttered during the effort to slow down the spread of COVID-19 and have combined to distribute more than 20,000 meals to date.

According to a press release, some school sites are reaching out to family resource centers, churches and tribes to support distribution. As an added bonus, the meal distributions allow school staff to see students and their families and check in on any need for further support services.

"This effort truly showcases the amazing resiliency of our school personnel to provide essential services to our students despite this unprecedented situation we are all in," Humboldt County Superintendent of Schools Chris Hartley said.

For a full list of locations and distribution times, visit hcoe.org/covid-19/school-meal-times-and-locations.

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Kimberly Wear

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Kimberly Wear is the assistant editor of the North Coast Journal.

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