By: Jaina Winston, Writer / Follow South Jersey Community Resources Intern
BRIDGETON, N.J. — As we’ve learned over the past few months, COVID-19 weakens the body physically — but researchers are also discovering its impact socially and economically.
Some people seek employment, some search for meals, and others are looking for sites where they can be tested for the coronavirus. Sensitive to this fact, community leaders and officials of Bridgeton have advised residents to be aware of various opportunities to take advantage of if impacted by the virus.
Many people have been blindsided by the outbreak and are struggling to find the way back to normalcy. If you or someone you know has found themselves in search of employment, check the state’s COVID-19 information hub for details on applying for unemployment or searching for a job.
While it may seem like a daunting task, filing an unemployment claim weekly or bi-weekly encourages the office to keep sending benefits, as it is your way of documenting that you are still eligible. Find out more information on employment options on the Hopeloft website under COVID-19 resources.
During this time, it’s important to be aware of the resources offered to you and your family. There is comfort in knowing that your township is working hard for you and your family during this difficult time. Organizations like Hopeloft are dedicated to community building and service in times of crisis.
“With the instability caused by the coronavirus pandemic, our team at Hopeloft wanted to make sure that our community had easy access to critical resources that both our network and outside organizations in our area offer,” said Annalisa Ciro, a Hopeloft staffer who’s been tracking down community resources during this troubling time. “So, to respond to the needs of our community, we’ve continued to compile a list of COVID-19 resources on our website, and we also set up a Hopeloft Hotline that people can call to be directed to resources pertinent to their needs.” (That hotline is: (856) 200-8274.)
Community organizers realize that food shortage shouldn’t be something that residents of Bridgeton need to worry about. To maintain some semblance of normalcy, community organizations have established means in which residents can obtain meals for free. Any student that attends Bridgeton, Vineland, or Millville Township schools can get free lunch and breakfast. Also, the Vineland Salvation Army is serving residents located in the Vineland, Millville, Commercial, Maurice River, Downe, and Lawrence Township areas on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Be sure to check out the local churches in and around Bridgeton or visit their Facebook pages for dates and times for pick-up. Hopeloft associates also host weekly sandwich drives at their location in Bridgeton on Commerce Street.
Additionally, for those who want to help healthcare workers, Hopeloft has made it easy to donate. Healthcare workers have expressed a need for certain items such as snacks, gloves, water, and more. It’s as simple as ordering the items online and having them shipped to local hospitals — check Hopeloft’s “Giving Back” page for specific details.
Lastly, your health is most important during this time. Proper handwashing hygiene and utilization of CDC guidelines is imperative for you and your family members as restaurants and businesses begin reopening. If you or a loved one develop symptoms or want to get tested, there are some things you should know. The Rowan College of South Jersey Cumberland Campus drive-thru COVID-19 testing site was suspended on June 30 due to a decrease in cases and demand. However, Cumberland County officials have partnered with CompleteCare Health Network, and they have continued testing people as of July 1. If you or someone you know would like to receive testing, they must make an appointment. Visit CompleteCareNJ.org or call 856-451-4700 to request a screening. For more local testing sites in South Jersey, see our additional coverage.
The Hopeloft team is focused on creating a better South Jersey for all its residents. Readjusting after being in quarantine for three months is no easy task, but it’s comforting to know that your community has your back. Maintaining your claim for unemployment is essential for receiving your benefits, and ensuring you have access to nutritious food will assist in keeping you healthy.
Hopeloft is a great resource if you are in search of food pantries and more. Additionally, if you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, make an appointment with CompleteCare. All the resources in this article can be found on the Hopeloft website. If you are in a position to help others, please do. Share this article with friends and family. Also, be sure to check out the Cumberland County website for more local details as they develop.
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This article was produced by a Follow South Jersey news intern thanks to a grant provided by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to create hyper-local news to meet the informational and health needs of the City of Bridgeton, N.J.