Koochiching County 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 in Koochiching County will stay in Koochiching County. 
Click here for more information.

United Way of Northeastern Minnesota's response to COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

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 PROGRAM UPDATES
UWNEMN AGENCY UPDATES
COMMUNITY RESOURCES - FOOD
COMMUNITY RESOURCES - CHILDCARE
COMMUNITY RESOURCES - EDUCATION
COMMUNITY RESOURCES - HEALTH
COMMUNITY RESOURCES - OTHER

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.
  • Smiles United dental program is suspended until April 13. 

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UWNEMN PARTNER AGENCY UPDATES

  • 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 hereRed 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.
  • Falls Hunger Coalition food shelf grocery hours are the same; however, clients receiving food will no longer be able to come in and shop, instead they receive prepackaged food. Client service hours are Tuesdays 10:00am – 4:00pm and Thursday & Friday 10:00am – 2:00pm. 218-283-8020.  Clients can call when they get to the building, and food will be brought out to them.
  • Friends Against Abuse walk-in traffic for advocacy services has been suspended, meeting with individuals on a case by case basis. Trained advocates remain available by phone 24/7 at 285-7220 or  888-344-3264. Supervised Visitation Services and Men’s Non-Violent Education Group are suspended until April 3rd.
  • Koochiching Aging Options has suspended its Senior Wheels program (please call your health care provider) and Memory Cafe. Caregiver Consultant Program and Dementia Support are available through email and phone. Senior Companion and Good Visit are available through phone only. Groceries to You! is currently continuing; must pre-register to use this program. Registered clients place orders Tuesdays between 9 am and 12 pm, and delivers are made Wednesday to the outside door/vestibule only. Clients will be pre-screened before order is accepted, and volunteers will be pre-screened before shopping and delivering.
  • Salvation Army International Falls office is closed to the public. Intake can be done over the phone. Limited funds are available for rent and emergency lodging, however ample funds are available through HeatShare and for medical expenses. The Salvation Army has packaged bags of food for kids and the elderly.  There are no income guidelines. Call 218-283-3394 to schedule a pick-up time. Food Pantry is still open by appointment only on Tuesdays and Thursday. 
  • Servants of Shelter is operating normal office hours for the time being. The shelter currently has one two-bedroom apartment available. Agencies with clients in need of emergency shelter should call 218-285-2092. 

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COMMUNITY RESOURCES - FOOD

  • 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. 
  • 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.
  • ISD 361 is providing free breakfast and lunch for every child under 18 - no paperwork required. Meals can be picked up between 11 am and 1 pm Mondays-Fridays at Door #7. Meals should be eaten off-site. Food drop-off can be arranged for those with transportation needs. Email foodservice@isd361.org or call 218-283-2571 ext. 1102.
  • ISD 362 Food Delivery/Pick-up program is working well, and families interested in the service can still sign up by filing out the survey (click here). This service is FREE for ANY L-BF Student who would like to participate.
  • ISD 363 - Northome School has received word from the Minnesota Department of Education that all of our students in Pre-K through Grade 12 are eligible to receive a Free Breakfast and Lunch that the school will deliver to your home.  To sign up for that, and find more information, click here. Indus School lunch program is free for all students age 4-18. Meals can be delivered.  For forms and information, click here.
  • AEOA Meals on Wheels and Home Delivered Meals in International Falls and Northome continue as normal. Senior Dining in International Falls, Littlefork, Northome Jourdans Restaurant & Northome Shining Light Cafe are take-out only.
  • Backus Community Center Community Café is serving pick up meals only, the dining room is closed.  Café guests can call 285-7225 by 4:00 pm the day of Community Café to reserve meals.  Pick up is from 5:00 to 6:00 pm Tuesdays and Thursdays.
  • Falls Hunger Coalition food shelf grocery hours are the same; however, clients receiving food will no longer be able to come in and shop, instead they receive prepackaged food. Client service hours are Tuesdays 10:00am – 4:00pm and Thursday & Friday 10:00am – 2:00pm. 218-283-8020.  Clients can call when they get to the building, and food will be brought out to them.
  • Koochiching Aging Options' Groceries to You! is currently continuing; must pre-register to use this program. Registered clients place orders Tuesdays between 9 am and 12 pm, and delivers are made Wednesday to the outside door/vestibule only. Clients will be pre-screened before order is accepted, and volunteers will be pre-screened before shopping and delivering.
  • Salvation Army International Falls has packaged bags of food for kids and the elderly.  There are no income guidelines. Call 218-283-3394 to schedule a pick-up time. Food Pantry is still open by appointment only on Tuesdays and Thursday.

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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.
  • For questions about school closures and childcare, contact the state information hotline between 7 am and 7 pm: 1-800-657-3504.
  • Local schools will provide childcare for elementary-age children of health care professionals, first responders, and other emergency workers, including grocery store staff  during previously planned school days. Please contact your local school for more information.

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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.
  • Ballan's iSpace is available for students starting online classes March 30th to reserve time for FREE. Call or text 324-1136 to reserve time. Click here for more information.
  • International Falls Public Library is streaming live story time Thursday mornings at 10:30 am. on their Facebook page. 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. 
  • Accra offices are closed to the public, but operations run as normal. All visits are conducted by phone or teleconference at this time.
  • Essentia Health International Falls is enouraging patients not to come into the clinic for routine appointments. E-visits, telephone visits, and virtual visits available. COVID-19 screening available at no cost with an e-visit online. Call 1-833-494-0836 for more information. 
  • Fairview Range Homecare and Hospice continues to see clients in their homes and is taking new referrals and admits for both home care and hospice daily.  Nurses immediately screen for COVID-19 and have protocol in place.  Hospice care continues to be provided at Littlefork Care Center. 
  • I Falls Family Planning is currently not taking walk-ins at the clinic. Call 218-283-6188 before coming to the clinic, and do not come to the clinic if you have any of the following symptoms: temperature 100 F or higher, respiratory symptoms, cough, difficulty breathing, known exposure to COVID 19, or awaiting test results for COVID 19.
  • Koochiching County Public Health and Human Services building is closed to the public.  For Human Services, contacts are made via phone or video conferencing (where available).  All critical services are still being provided, including Child Protection and Vulnerable Adults protection. Call 283-7000 for more information. Programs continue as usual, but most are available only by phone or email. Click here for more information on each program. Stay up-to-date with the county public health department by liking their Facebook page (click here). 
  • Northern Options for Women continues to meet with clients one on one for urgent needs (screening required).  Immediate needs include: diapers, wipes, pregnancy tests, ultrasounds, baby items, someone to talk to, cribs, etc.  Call 218 285-7673, call Vickie Bernard via Facebook, or message through the Facebook page (click here). 
  • Northland Counseling Crisis Response Team services continue 24/7/365. Calls will begin with COVID-19 screening questions (face-to-face services may be denied if these are not answered). Face-to-face meetings will be limited, and transportation by the crisis team is not available for any reason. The team is always available for calls. The crisis bed is unavailable at this time due to a sewer line break.
  • Rainy Lake Medical Center has postponed non-urgent/routine appointments.  Medically necessary procedures and appointments are still being conducted. RLMC currently is enforcing a “No Visitor” policy. Call 218-283-5503 to request screening from 8 am to 5 pm Monday through Friday. After hours, please call 218-283-4481.
  • West Falls Estates is currently closed to all visitors. Family members doing wellness checks, medical personnel (nursing, therapy), and deliveries are permitted.  All other visitors must be approved by management.

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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.
  • Koochiching County buildings are closed to the public.  The transfer station which will remain open to the public during normal business hours for solid waste disposal. The Courthouse will remain open to the public for District Court cases. County Probation is requesting clients to report by phone on their assigned reporting day and further instruction will be given at that time. For more information, click here.
  • Housing & Redevelopment Authority of Koochiching County has halted inspections for the time being.  The office remains open for business as usual.
  • International Falls Public Library is offering pickup service of materials at the parking lot doors. This includes books, printed materials, tax forms. Call 218-283-8051, email ifallslibrary@gmail.com, or LiveChat on the library's web site (click here) between 9 am and 5 pm Monday-Friday. If community members have a library card they can use Hoopla (currently raised limit to 25 items/month) or Libby to get digital materials, as well as a variety of other digital resources that can be found here. OR click here to get a library card to access digital or physical materials.
  • International Falls Water Department will not be shutting off water services even if you’ve received a shut off notice. However, residents will continue to be billed though.  Call 218-283-9484 for more information.
  • KOOTASCA Community Action office in International Falls is open Monday – Friday from 12 pm – 4 pm with reduced staff.  Call 218-283-9491 prior to visiting as many issues can be addressed via phone, or prep work can be done before prior to the client coming in to reduce contact. A secure drop box has been installed next to the main (side) entry for clients to drop off applications or necessary information. Head Start classrooms are closed at this time. Staff are working with families on distance learning and are delivering meals to students Monday – Friday. At this time, there is no rental assistance funding available.  Energy Assistance continues to process applications and provide grant and crisis payments for heating and electric. 
  • Midco Lifeline Internet Service won't disconnect services to customers financially affected by the Coronavirus pandemic for the next 60 days (through May 15).  Customers are encouraged to contact customer care representatives. Midco would like to remind schools sand communities of the lifeline program, a federal program intended to put home phone and internet service within reach of qualifying families for as little as $5.70/month. Click here for more information. 
  • 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.

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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.