Free Community Resources for Residents on a Fixed Income

Published on: May 27, 2020

The COVID-19 outbreak has affected communities all over the nation. Businesses and schools have been shut down or had to resort to virtual classes and services. The safety measures to control the virus have also affected resources for low and fixed income families, such as food assistance and student lunch programs.

In response to COVID-19, communities and businesses have come together to provide resources, delivery services, and programs for families who rely on them. Check out our list of free community resources and services for those on a fixed income: 

COVID-19 Resources and Information

For medical information on COVID-19:

For Mental Health Care

Other Resources

Free Lunch Programs for Students

Social distancing measures have forced schools to close, including access to lunch programs that many families relied on to feed their children. In light of that need, many organizations have stepped forward to provide free lunch programs for students despite the lack of school. 

The USDA has still authorized organizations such as the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) or Seamless Supper Option (SSO) to continue and waivered sponsors to service meals through the rest of the school year. 

Schools that offer SPSP and SSO have also been approved to deliver meals to student’s homes during this time. Deliveries can be completed by mail or delivery service, or hand-delivered by school staff, volunteers, community organizations, or others. 

In Florida specifically, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) authorized the Summer BreakSpot program, which usually provides free meals to children under 18 through the summer, to begin with current coronavirus school closures. The meal locations can be found here. Children under 18 can receive meals in a grab-and-go setting at no cost. 

Affordable Grocery and Supply Delivery Services

Some Summer BreakSpot meal sites are mobile and visit different locations throughout the day. If transportation is a problem for your family, you can contact nearby sites and ask if there is any transportation being offered

Likewise, children and adults enrolled in a CACFP and SFSP program may have meals delivered to their door. To do so, schools with these programs must obtain written consent requesting delivery. 

There are also traditional grocery delivery services such as Instacart and Peapod. These services, which can be requested through an app or online, will drop your groceries off at your door for varying prices. Usually, the larger the order, the cheaper the delivery fee. 

Public Transportation During COVID-19

Due to the coronavirus, public transportation has had to adjust. Due to people’s reliance on public trolleys, buses, and trains, public transportation has been deemed an essential business but there have been precautions put in place to limit the chance of transmission.

In Florida, public transportation trolleys have police style caution tape placed along certain seats to enforce social distancing among travelers. Buses have also been fumigated with disinfectant and are regularly cleaned for safety as well. For all areas of public transportation, capacity has been limited to keep with social distancing measures. 

People who feel ill or have symptoms of fever are asked to not travel on public transportation to keep passengers and operators safe. 

Food and Supply Assistance Programs

Due to the social distancing measures and closures of non-essential businesses, thousands of Americans have lost their jobs. Florida has been especially hard hit due to the essential non-existence of the tourism industry; with theme parks, hotels, and restaurants closed, many Floridians are out of work and are in need of assistance from food banks and other services. 

Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida distributes food to 550 partners, including emergency food banks, shelters, and soup kitchens, throughout Brevard, Lake, Orange, Osceola, Seminole, and Volusia counties. To find food banks near you, look up your location on their interactive map.

Feeding South Florida is another organization that provides food assistance for those in need. They also provide home delivery services for those who qualify. Their client service centers also include non-food and household items available, as well as access to their pantries.  

Healthcare and Free COVID-19 Testing

Drive-thru testing centers are opening up through Miami-Dade and Broward counties for free COVID-19 testing, but not everyone is eligible for teasing. Most people who are accepted for testing are 65 years and older, show COVID-19 symptoms, or have had recent contact with someone with the virus. 

Find a list here of public COVID-19 testing centers in South Florida.

As Florida receives more testing kits, more COVID-19 test centers will open up around the state. If you’re looking for a testing site and you don’t live in South Florida, you can place your zip code in this search to find a site closest to you. 

This is a difficult time for many people and families who need assistance, whether looking for COVID-19 testing or food banks. If you need help navigating Social Security benefits during the coronavirus crisis, the team at Disability Experts of Florida is here to help you. Reach out and let us know what you need help with.

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