Iron Range COVID-19 Resources

The recently passed CARES act created a $300 "nonitemizer" federal tax deduction for 2020. Please consider donating to UWNEMN's COVID-19 Crisis Fund to support local agencies & UWNEMN programs that are providing immediate assistance to individuals and families affected by this pandemic.
Funds raised on the Iron Range will stay on the Iron Range. 
Click here for more information.

United Way of Northeastern Minnesota's response to COVID-19 (Coronavirus) on the Iron Range

The COVID-19 pandemic affects every one of UWNEMN's Focus Areas: helping children succeed, empowering healthy lives, and stabilizing families and individuals. Our staff is hard at work to respond to this crisis in a thoughtful, responsible way. We are monitoring the situation closely and staying in regular contact with our schools, agencies, and other community partners to continue to be a resource to you.

Communication is key in times of uncertainty like this. Please check back to this page often as details are changing rapidly given the fluid nature of the situation. 

Scroll through for updates, or jump to a section using the links below:
UWNEMN EVENT UPDATES
UWNEMN PROGRAM UPDATES
UWNEMN AGENCY UPDATES
COMMUNITY RESOURCES - FOOD
COMMUNITY RESOURCES - CHILDCARE
COMMUNITY RESOURCES - EDUCATION
COMMUNITY RESOURCES - HEALTH
COMMUNITY RESOURCES - OTHER

UWNEMN EVENT UPDATES

  • April 17-19 Women Veterans' Retreat at The Lodge at Giants Ridge has been canceled. If you registered for this event and have not been contacted about a refund, please contact erin@unitedwaynemn.org.
  • April 23rd Flavor of the North at Range Recreation Civic Center is postponed. A new date is to be determined. UWNEMN will issue refunds for anyone who registered for the April 23rd date and is unable to attend when the new date is announced.
  • May 13th Bull Ride for the Brave Cash Raffle Drawing Party is postponed. TICKETS ARE STILL ON SALE. Call 218-215-2422 for more information. All proceeds directly benefit local veterans through UWNEMN's United for Veterans program. 
  • May 15th Bull Ride for the Brave event is canceled. If you bought a ticket and have not been contacted about a refund, please contact erin@unitedwaynemn.org.
  • Other event announcements - cancellations, postponements, and/or new digital events - will be posted here as well as individual event tabs on our web site.

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UWNEMN PROGRAM UPDATES

  • All children enrolled in Buddy Backpacks will continue to receive them. UWNEMN is unable to host volunteers to pack Buddy Backpacks at this time, but our staff will continue to pack meal kits for the foreseeable future.
  • Comforts of Home is currently unable to accommodate in-person appointments. If families or individuals in crisis are in need of home goods, referring agencies or caseworkers can email katy@unitedwaynemn.org to arrange for UWNEMN staff to pack requested items for clients that can be made available for pick-up. If families or individuals would prefer to wait for in-person appointments to resume, email katy@unitedwaynemn.org to get on a wait list for when the program resumes as normal.
  • Imagination Library will continue to mail books directly to children's homes on a monthly basis. If you have a child under 5 who is not enrolled in this program, this may be a good time to enroll them; click here to do soPlease keep in mind it takes 6-8 weeks for the first book to arrive. For the next 10 weeks, Dolly Parton will be reading a story from her Imagination Library every Thursday at 6 pm in an effort to comfort and reassure children during the shelter-in-place mandates. Click here for more.
  • The Lunch Buddies pilot mentoring program is on hiatus until schools re-open.
  • Smiles United dental program is suspended until April 13. 
 

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UWNEMN PARTNER AGENCY UPDATES

  • ELY: Northwoods Partners classes and groups are postponed. If you are elderly and in need of grocery delivery, call 218-365-8019.
  • FLOODWOOD: Floodwood Services & Training's thriFSTore is closed, but if anyone should ned specific items, call 218-476-2230, and staff will make every attempt to help you if they can. 
  • HIBBING: Salvation Army's food shelf is operating BY APPOINTMENT ONLY.  Walk-ins will not be accepted, and those late to appointments will need to reschedule. Call 218-263-5096 to make an appointment.
  • HIBBING & VIRGINIA: Project Care Free Clinics are closed at this time as volunter medical professionals work around the clock at their respective places of work. In the meantime, all major healthcare facilities are offering affordable ($30-$45) online visits for many common conditions, and fees are wavied for COVID-19-related screening.
  • MT. IRON: Mesabi Family YMCA's Day Camp will operate Monday-Friday 7 am to 5:30 pm beginning March 23rd - this is limited to 40 spots in order to meet Department of Health and CDC guidelines. For more information, click here.
  • MT. IRON: Habitat for Humanity's office and warehouse are closed through April 10. Volunteer activities are cancelled through April 12. Staff is available by phone or email should you have any questions.
  • REGION-WIDE: Advocates for Family Peace is unable to accomodate walk-in traffice for advocacy services or facilitated groups in Itasca or St. Louis County at this time. Advocates remain available 24/7 by phone. Itasca County: 218-326-0388 or 1-800-909-8336 | St. Louis County: 218-248-5512 or 1-800-909-8336. If you are experiencing domestic violence, you can also text 218-259-3407.
  • REGION-WIDE: American Red Cross Minnesota is facing a severe blood shortage due to blood drives being canceled across the country. Red Cross has implemented additional precautions to ensure the safety of their donors and staff; if you're healthy and able, please consider scheduling a blood or platelets donation. To make an appointment, calll 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or click here. Red Cross offices in MN are closed, and free smoke detector instalation is temporarily suspended. Those in crisis can still reach Red Cross staff in our region by calling 218-722-0071. All disaster response services remain in place and available to those impacted by disasters such as home fires or spring flooding.
  • REGION-WIDE: Arrowhead Economic Opportunity Agency (AEOA) is requesting customers call ahead before visiting the office and postpone or cancel appointments if they are sick. AEOA's Head Start classrooms, Tax Aid sites, and Minnesota Power Conservation Improvement Program are closed until further notice. AEOA's essential services for food access continues. There are no service changes for home delivered meals or grocery delivery. Senior Dining continues as takeout service with a few locations that are closed. The  NE MN Food Shelf Network members are offering pre-boxed pick-up. For site specific information please call 218-800-662-5711, ext. 6899 or 735-6899. AEOA is in need of volunteers to deliver meals in the Hibbing area (call 218-262-4784 if interested) and to shop/deliver groceries in Hibbing and Virginia (call 218-748-7323 if interested).
  • REGION-WIDE: Sexual Assault Program of Northern St. Louis County has postponed one-on-one in-person advocacy sessions as well as speaking and educational sessions. All immediate upcoming trials and individual meetings with prosecutors have also been postponed.  In-person hospital advocacy may not be allowed (still under discussion with hospitals), law enforcement advocacy is case-by-case, and legal advocacy is available for emergencies after screening. One-on-one, hospital, law enforcement, and legal advocacy is ALWAYS available 24/7 by phone. Call 218-749-4725 and press #6 to leave a voice mail or call/text 218-780-7227. The program is accepting referalls through all disciplines and contacting families through phone calls and mail.
  • VIRGINIA: Arrowhead Center has removed clothing from their outdoor pantry and filled the shelves with food.  
  • VIRGINIA: Salvation Army's bread table, food shelf, and supper club is drive-through only. Appointments required for food shelf so staff can box up the food you need. Call 741-1889 to make an appointment.

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COMMUNITY RESOURCES - FOOD

  • BIGFORK/MARCELL: Timberwolf Inn is offering a free bag lunch to families in need starting at 11 am. 
  • HIBBING: Salvation Army's food shelf is operating BY APPOINTMENT ONLY.  Walk-ins will not be accepted, and those late to appointments will need to reschedule. Call 218-263-5096 to make an appointment.
  • REGION-WIDE: AEOA's essential services for food access continues. There are no service changes for home delivered meals or grocery delivery. Senior Dining continues as takeout service with a few locations that are closed. Click here for more information on the Senior Nutrition program. AEOA is in need of volunteers to deliver meals in the Hibbing area (call 218-262-4784 if interested) and to shop/deliver groceries in Hibbing and Virginia (call 218-748-7323 if interested).
  • REGION-WIDE: NE MN Food Shelf Network food shelves have all changed their food distribution methods. Click here for a comprehensive list of food shelves' hours.
  • REGION-WIDE: All Dollar General stores have dedicated their first hour of operations strictly to senior customers so they can purchase items when shelves are stocked and cleaned and avoid crowds. Stores ask other customers to plan shopping trips around that window of time.
  • REGION-WIDE: Local schools have confirmed with UWNEMN staff that they intend to provide meals to children who rely on them while school is closed. If you have questions, contact your child's school directly for specific procedures.
  • REGION-WIDE: The Rutabaga Project continues to stock its Little Free pantries and are doing their best to keep them clean. The pantry is santized once per weekday, but items inside have not been sanitized. Please wash your hands after using the pantry, and use your best judgment when accessing the pantry. If you are sick, please send a friend or family member to the pantry in your place. For a map of pantry locations, click here.
  • REGION-WIDE: All Super One stores ask that the public allow the first hour of sevice to be the shopping hour for the elderly, immunocompromised, healthcare staff, and first responders. 
  • TOWER: Zup’s grocery store and the Brietung Police Department are teaming up to get groceries to the elderly and those whose health conditions make them vulnerable to COVID-19. Simply call the store (218-753-2725), provide your order, and the police will deliver when they’re able.
  • VIRGINIA: Aldi is reserving 8:30-9:30 am every Tuesday and Thursday for senior citizens and immunocompromised shoppers.
  • VIRGINIA: Arrowhead Center has removed clothing from their outdoor pantry and filled the shelves with food.
  • VIRGINIA: Salvation Army's bread table, food shelf, and supper club is drive-through only.  Appointments required for food shelf so staff can box up the food you need. Call 741-1889 to make an appointment.

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COMMUNITY RESOURCES - CHILDCARE

  • The six Minnesota Initiative Foundations have created an Emergency Child Care Grant Program to provide immediate financial support to licensed child care providers in Greater Minnesota. Applicants must be a licensed family- or center-based child care provider, be located within a Greater Minnesota community, and serve children of essential and emergency workers. Click here for more information.
  • HIBBING: Kiddy Karousel is offering drop-in services to anyone in the area. Call Kiddy Karousel directly for details: 218-263-7450.
  • REGION-WIDE: Mesabi Family YMCA is continuing After School Care in collaboration with local schools' care plan for students of health care and emergency service personnel. Spring Day Camp will operate Monday-Friday 7 am to 5:30 pm beginning March 23rd - this is limited to 40 spots in order to meet Department of Health and CDC guidelines. For more information, click here.

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COMMUNITY RESOURCES - EDUCATION

  • For questions about school closures, contact the state information hotline between 7 am and 7 pm: 1-800-657-3504.
  • For free Imagination Library activities for children at home, click here.
  • Scholastic is providing free grade-level-specific activities online for children while schools are closed - click here.
  • For a list of education companies offering free subscriptions during school closures, click here.

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COMMUNITY RESOURCES - HEALTH

  • MNsure is offering a special enrollment period (3/23 - 4/21) for eligible Minnesotans who do not have health insurance. Click here for more information 
  • Click here for a list of mental health resourced during this time of self isolation from Mental Health Minnesota.
  • Essentia Health is providing COVID-19 screening at no cost. They encourage you to start an e-visit online first to connect with their team without leaving home. E-visits are available 24/7. Call their toll free number for COVID-19 questions or concerns: 1-833-494-0836. Essentia Health Urgent Care in Virginia is piloting a Mobile Testing Site; at this time only medical professionals and first responders exhibiting symptoms are using the site. Tickets to use the Mobile Testing site will be given during E-Visits (no one without a ticket will be granted access.) The site will be open from 9 am to 6 pm every day of the week as needed.
  • Fairview Health recommends a virtual appointment to determine if you should receive a COVID-19 test. Click here to see a provider virtually 24/7 with no out-of-pocket costs for COVID-19 consultation. Call 1-800-824-1953 for further guidance.
  • St. Luke's has an online COVID-19 questionnaire to determine if you are at risk. St. Luke's is not canceling any existing appointments, procedures, or surgeries at this time. If you suspect you may have COVID-19, call their free 24/7 triage hotline: 218-249-4200. 
  • Range Mental Health is an essential business and will remain open, but all face-to-face services are now being offered through a tele-health platform. Existing clients are encouraged to keep scheduled appointments, and newcomers are encouraged to call 218-749-2281 to schedule  an appointment. Emails to existing clients have been sent to reschedule appointments as needed; if you are an existing client and have not received an email, contact Virginia: 218-749-2881 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., Hibbing: 218-263-9237 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., or Ely: 218-780-6610 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. The mobile crisis line is ALWAYS available for emergencies: 218-288-2100. 

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COMMUNITY RESOURCES - OTHER

  • If you are unable to work, have had hours reduced, or have lost your job as a result of this pandemic, you can apply for unemployment benefitsClick here for more information
  • The Small Business Association is working on disaster relief assistance for small business owners impacted by COVID-19. For more information, contact deed.mnsbao@statemn.us
  • USDA is warning of SNAP scams arising to steal confidential information like social seccurity numbers, bank information, or PIN numbers in order to qualify for COVID-19-related assistance. If you are unsure if a request for information is legitimate, call 1-800-657-3698. For a list of current potential scams, click here. If you belive you are the victim of identity theft, contact your local police department; you may also file a complaint online with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) by clicking here.
  • Local banks have largely closed their lobbies and are operating their drive throughs only. Call your local bank if you need to speak with a banker or make an appointment.
  • Many utilities, telecommuncations companies, and automakers are easing shutoffs and waiving late fees to accomodate customers who may be struggling due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Click here for a list of cable, utility, and other providers taking action.
  • Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans' Duluth office is currently open for walk-ins for veterans without access to phones or compouters on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. If you are able to reach out from a phone or computer, please call 1-833-222-6228 or email mac-v@mac-v.org.
  • Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services continues to run the Telephone Equipment Distribution program (TED), which provides telephone/telecommunication equipment to eligible Minnesotans at no charge. They continue advocacy and consultation for those with hearing loss as well as workplaces unsure of how to make communication accessible and also provide FREE mental health counseling to anyone in MN with a hearing loss. Click here for more information.
  • Itasca County buildings remain open at this time. Click here for more information
  • St. Louis County buildings are closed to the public. Exceptions include the courthouses for court operations and the landfill and solid waste sites. For more information, click here.
  • Hibbing Public Utilities is discontinuing utility disconnects until further notice. HPU is reading outside customer meters; if you have an inside utility meter you can call the read into HPU at 262-7710; take a picture of the meter with your smart phone and text it to 218-421-7891; or drop off the meter reads in the HPU drop boxes located at Wal-Mart, Super One, and the HPU administration building front entry lobby and drive-thru. Please identify the meter reads with your name or address.
     
  • Minnesota Power has suspended disconnections and will extend the MN Cold Weather Rule protections until May 31. Contact them if you are having trouble paying your bill or have been disconnected and need to be reconnected: 1-800-228-4966.
  • Lake Country Power service center lobbies are closed, but lobby kiosks will remain open. Members will still be able to  make payments at drop boxes on-site, kisosks, through SmartHub accounts, by phone, or through regular U.S. mail. If you experience an outage, please report it as usual, and Lake Country Power will dispatch linemne to make repairs as usual. Lake Country Power is not disconnecting service at this time. If you are facing financial hardship, contact 1-800-421-9959. 
  • Access to Virginia Public Utilities' lobby is restricted, and customers are encouraged to pay by phone (the utility will absorb fees paid by credit or debit card usage at this time), mail (be sure to include your remittance advice), or online. If you need more time to pay your bill, please contact the office by phone to work out an arrangement: 218-748-7540. If you have questions about steam conversion loans, contact lindaa@vpuc.com.

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Please remember, if you are ever in need of help, the 24-hour United Way 2-1-1 line is available to help you find local resources that best fit your needs. (Call 2-1-1 or visit www.211unitedway.org for more information.)

UWNEMN's mission is "to unite and focus our communities in creating measurable results to improve people's lives and strengthen our families." This unity and focus is needed now more than ever. Please practice patience, thoughtfulness, and preventive measures in the days and weeks to come to keep yourselves, your families, and your neighbors healthy and safe.

  • Imagination Library will continue to mail books directly to children's homes on a monthly basis. If you have a child under 5 who is not enrolled in this program, this may be a good time to enroll them; click here to do soPlease keep in mind it takes 6-8 weeks for the first book to arrive.

The six Minnesota Initiative Foundations have created an Emergency Child Care Grant Program to provide immediate financial support to licensed child care providers in Greater Minnesota. Applicants must be a licensed family- or center-based child care provider, be located within a Greater Minnesota community, and serve children of essential and emergency workers. Click here for more information.